BusinessPeople In BusinessOn the money with Gavin Hinks

On the money with Gavin Hinks

Sir Fred Goodwin, one of the most highly placed accountants in the FTSE 100, has been levered out of his post as CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland

Gavin Hinks, editor of AccountancyAge

Gavin Hinks, editor of AccountancyAge

As a result he becomes the biggest name to fall victim to this latest chapter
of the credit crunch.

Arguably, if it had not been for the need for government intervention on a
massive scale, Goodwin might have been spared. But on reflection his emphatic
pursuit of the ABN Amro deal now looks like a deal too far.

Don’t take my word for it. People with greater financial expertise than I
have been saying the same thing for some time, including some very senior people
observing from inside the FTSE100.

What Goodwin’s departure raises is the issue of experienced and otherwise
successful people being able to transfer their skills from managing in the good
times, to being a leader when the world economy appears to be going belly up.

After having had so many years of growth, who out there knows what to do when
it all turns sour?

One FTSE chairman confided that a CEO should not remain in place for longer
than eight years. He implied he was ready to talk to any CEO about the length of
time he had served.

But the question remains about what to do in a crisis?

This has the potential to prompt a large scale restructuring of boards
causing any number of executives to consider their futures.

Just as we have become accustomed to reading about people having a ‘good
war’, we will begin to see executives in the same way. Some will prosper, others
will flounder.

The crisis has the potential to determine the direction of executive careers
for perhaps the next ten years. Time to dust off those notes on crisis
management from your MBA.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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