29 Oct
2018

CEO Appointments – Career Trophy or Career Suicide?


 

Many of the ambitious executives I speak to on a daily basis have aspirations to ultimately become CEO. In fact, at least 80% of execs will take the call from a headhunter when the role has this 3-letter acronym as its job title.

They’re interested in a range of reasons: career growth and challenge, financial rewards, status, the opportunity for impact….and others.

What is not usually seen, however, is the dark side of the leadership accountability that rests squarely on the CEO’s shoulders. And what is seldom anticipated is that if things don’t go well within a relatively short period of time, what may have seemed like a career trophy can turn into career suicide.  

Because here’s the thing: shareholders are ruthless. And impatient. If you’re the CEO and the company is not performing  to expectations – regardless of the circumstances – it’s a bit like Project Runway: ‘One day you’re in, and the next…you’re out’. (I’m channeling my inner Heidi Klum as I write this).

With the exception of Jeff Bezos and crew who seem to not need to show profitability or pay dividends EVER, what we see both locally in South Africa and globally, is that the CEO is usually first in line to receive the boot when the financial results are poor.

In the last little while, we’ve seen some high profile heads topple. When you drill down into the reasons, they are varied and are less important than this main fact: when the CEO loses the confidence of the board, he/she should be prepared to walk out the door. This loss of confidence may not be the result of impropriety or poor governance (although this is certainly sometimes the case); it may merely be due to differing stances on strategic direction, or expenditure, or new markets, or key appointments.

For a CEO, the kiss of death is a combination of tepid financial results and misalignment with board members.

So when you next receive a call from a headhunter offering you the top job, stop for a few minutes and evaluate whether you have the skills, nous, relationship abilities, and experience with influencing key stakeholders to take it on.

And if you do, be prepared to do as much work on your board and shareholder relationships as you do on the business itself; this could make all the difference between a performance bonus and an exit package.

Written by Debbie Goodman-Bhyat

 

Business Essentials is Africa’s premium networking and business directory.

Read more from our Press Room:

____

What You Need To Know Before The Medium-Term Budget Is Presented

____

The Fight Against Breast Cancer Continues During October

____

Why Incentive Travel is Still the Ultimate Reward


Related Articles:

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area Protocol on Investment: A Prickly Pear for SADC and other Regional Economic Communities

By Bigen 0 comment(s)

In a Post Covid-World, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area could not come soon enough

By Bigen 0 comment(s)

How the Environment Affects Your Health, and What You can do About It

By Sizwe Medical Fund 0 comment(s)

Resilience is Critical for Business Success in Our Post-COVID-19 Future

By Continuity SA 0 comment(s)

Are You Ready for the 4IR?

By MIP Holdings 0 comment(s)