Leader – FDs not for life anymore

It’s been a busy week on the finance director merry-go-round. Asda, Laura Ashley, Amoco, Business Post, the Football Association and English China Clays have all seen changes in the key role.

The reasons for each of the FDs’ departure vary. Amoco’s chief financial officer John Carl didn’t fancy working in London following the merger with BP, while Laura Ashley’s Richard Pennycook quit as part of a wider reorganisation. At Business Post, Torquil Montague-Johnson was dismissed as a result of personal frictions.

While each left for their own reason, other FDs will be looking over their shoulders a bit more keenly in the coming months. There is no room for complacency.

FDs are no longer faceless beancounters keeping a quiet check on the company’s finances in a gloomy backroom. Increasingly, they find themselves at the sharp end of business – if their decisions don’t work out, they will pay the price.

Others must realise that they are in the role to do a certain job. It is a question of being the right FD in the right job at the right time. There is a growing acceptance that an FD is not for life, just for the job in hand.

Once that task is complete it may be time to move on to a new challenge and allow a new finance specialist in to see the business on to its next phase.

One thing is sure. The rapidly increasing demands on FDs will ensure that the latest round of job moves will not be the last.

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