Sunday, March 11, 2018

Are You a Company Man?

The pressure of work varies from occupation to occupation – some are more relaxed than others in respect of the hours of intensity that are required. I remember when I moved into the consulting sector in my late 20’s having to work 16 hour days at times, especially when we were analyzing a potential client before the ‘project pitch’. It was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time – yet I have no regrets for the intensity, it was required at that particular time and I learnt so much at the same time.
Fortunately it wasn’t ‘constant’ and to some extent there was a work life balance over time – and as you ‘earned your stripes’ in the industry from a ‘grunt’ (as us new consultants were called) climbing the ladder to project manager and above, the intensity shifted from ‘hours’ to ‘strategic output and relationship building’. So there is a time and a place for ‘intensity’ in some industries, within the career life-cycle.
Yet in some other industries there seems to be a slight contradiction between the concept of finding that ‘work life balance’ and how some organizations ‘drive’ their employees. Erin Reid and Lakshmi Ramarajan mention in their 2016 article how “tales of time-hungry organizations – from Silicon Valley to Wall Street and from London to Hong Kong – abound. Managers routinely overload their subordinates, contact them outside of business hours, and make last minute requests for additional work. To satisfy those demand, employees arrive early, stay late, pull all-nighters, work weekends, and remain tied to their electronic devices 24/7. And those who are unable – or unwilling – to respond, typically get penalized,” (p.86).
This is the ‘new’ world we live in. Since the financial crisis job security has been a key concern for most employees. The financial crisis brought with it a constant stream of job losses, which hurt the life’s of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe, where many have never recovered. The new demands put on employees are based on the simple principle that if you’re not prepared to do it – there are hundreds of people ready to take your place. So fit in or ship out.
Reid and Ramarajan suggest that “many people manage the pressure to be fully devoted to work by simply giving in and conforming. Indeed, at one consulting firm among the companies we studied, 43% of those people interviewed fell into this group. In their quest to succeed on the job, ‘accepters’ prioritize their work identities and sacrifice or significantly suppress other meaningful aspects of who they are. People we spoke to across professions told us, somewhat ruefully, of giving up dreams of being civically engaged, running marathons, or getting deeply involved in their family lives,” (p.87).
But this group have another secret – they’re not motivated to go beyond the basics. They will do their job – work the crazy hours and sacrifice their personal life – but they won’t be committed to the organization or be innovators and influencers. They look forward to the day they can either find a better job or safe enough to get their life back.
Reid and Ramarajan mention “another strategy employed by another group of workers is to devote time to non-work activities – but under the organizations radar. At the consulting firm (mentioned above) 27% of the studies participants fell into this group. These people were ‘passing’ – a term originally used by sociologist Erving Goffman to describe how people try to hide personal characteristics that might stigmatize them and subject them to discrimination. Consultants who were successful at passing as ideal workers received performance ratings that were just as high as those given to peers who genuinely embraced the 24/7 culture, and colleagues perceived them as being ‘always on’,” (p. 87.)
What’s sad about this group is that they are living a lie and apparently getting away with it. There’s nothing healthy about this group – to themselves or the organization – though both probably see this as a win-win, it’s actually a lose-lose as integrity and transparency have gone right out of the window. They are passing themselves off as company men or women – yet devoting time to non-work activities without being noticed. They will ‘sell’ this game playing as a survival tactic, but if you sacrifice integrity for survival in business, what have you really accomplished and what type of person have you become.
Yet Reid and Ramarajan highlight how “not everyone wants to ‘pass’ – or can play the game of passing – and some who initially revert to ‘passing’ grow frustrated with this strategy over time. These people cope by openly sharing other parts of their lives and by asking for changes to the structure of their work, such as reduced schedules and other formal accommodations. At the consulting firm, 30% of those interviewed pursued this strategy – identified as ‘revealing’. Although it’s often assumed that those who resist the pressure to be ideal workers are primarily women with families, we have not encountered enormous gender differences in our research. Data from the consulting firm showed that fewer than half of the women were ‘revealers,’ while more than a quarter of men were,” (p.88).
Employees should be able to be ‘revealers’ at any organization – as the concept of revealing links with the concept of transparency. This is the kind of organization culture leaders used to strive for – but it seems that standards are dropping in this regard. It’s in an organizations interests to offer an environment that supports a fair work-life balance; because if you do the rewards are best for everyone. The employee is motivated, more healthy, focused and energized and the organizations reaps these rewards through increased commitment, innovation, productivity and optimized sustainable growth.
Reid and Ramarajan found, for example, that “most organizations leave it to the employees to set boundaries between their work and non-work lives – often with the best intentions. When Netflix offered unlimited time off, for example, managers thought they were treating their people like ‘grown-ups.’ But proving complete freedom can heighten employees’ fears that their choices will signal a lack of commitment. Without clear direction, many employees simply default to the ideal-worker expectation, suppressing the need to live more balanced lives,” (p.90).
Sudden change can often be viewed with suspicion by employees. If a tough organization suddenly offers unlimited time off – the employee’s natural reaction is to wonder what the catch is. Are they trying to see who’s not committed to the organization and then the next thing you know they are downsizing and you’re the first one asked to pack your desk and leave. Organizations have to have a genuine trusting and transparent culture before you can start offering unlimited time-off. Change has to be managed, especially when trying to change from a distrusting to a trusting culture – it will take a long time and must be approached small steps at a time.
Reid and Ramarajan conclude by highlighting how “the pressure to be an ideal worker is at an all-time high, but so are the costs to both individuals and their employees. Moreover, the experiences of those who are able to pass as ideal workers suggest superhuman dedication may not always be necessary for organizational success. By valuing all aspects of people’s identities, rewarding work output instead of work time, and taking steps to protect employees’ personal lives, leaders can begin to unravel the ideal-worker myth that has become woven into the fabric of their organizations. And that will enhance employees’ resilience, their creativity, and their satisfaction on the job,” (p.90).
Reid, E. and Ramarajan, L. (2016). Managing the High Intensity Workplace. Harvard Business School, June, p.84-90.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Why Do Mergers & Acquisitions Fail?

“Mergers and Acquisitions is a mug’s game” according to Roger Martin “in which typically 70%-90% of acquisitions are abysmal failures. Why is this so? The answer is surprisingly simple: Companies that focus on what they are going to get from an acquisition are less likely to succeed than those that focus on what they have to give to it.”
The logic is sound and sensible, yet in a world of corporate greed the trend has become more towards the former, i.e. ‘what are we going to get from this?’ It’s sad, to say the least that today’s leaders are more business savvy; and some notable failures include, “in 2015 Microsoft wrote off 96% of the value of the handset business it had acquired from Nokia for $7.9 billion the previous year. Meanwhile, Google has unloaded for $2.9 billion the handset business it bought from Motorola for $12.5 billion in 2012. HP has written down $8.8 billion of its $11.1 billion Autonomy acquisition; and in 20111 news Corporation sold My Space for a mere $35 million after acquiring it for $580 million just six years earlier,” (p.44).
The problem was “Microsoft and Google wanted to get into smart-phone hardware, HP wanted to get into enterprise search and data analytics; and News Corporation wanted to get into social networking. When a buyer is in take mode, the seller can evaluate its price to extract all the cumulative future value from the transaction – especially if another potential buyer is in the equation. Microsoft, Google, HP, and News Corp paid top dollar for their acquisitions, which in itself would have made it hard to earn a return on capital. But in addition, none of them understood their new markets, which contributed to the ultimate failure of those deals,” (p.44).
One issue with the approach of seeking acquisitions for the sole reason of what the organization thinks it can get from it, means that it’s unlikely the organization will ask ‘how can we contribute to its future growth’ and ‘do we have compatible cultures so that the leadership will fit and be a positive influence (rather than a destructive force)’ – all they see is their ‘dream’ of dollar signs and just lose complete focus in the frenzy for profit maximization.
Sadly the focus on mergers and acquisitions has become very polarized – taking place for two very basic reasons (1) the perceived financial gain for the ‘buyer’ (and often, only, with a short term focus) and (2) the feeling of power it brings to the ‘buyer’ – i.e. I’m more powerful than you – I’m buying you. The very real danger with this approach is that the culture of the acquisition company has often already turned negative on the ‘buyer’ long before the acquisition is finalized and is often so ‘broken’ that the acquiring company don’t have a chance of turning the culture around.
It’s simple human psychology – but since the buyers ‘eyes’ only see the dollar signs, they forget that it’s the human capital that makes the company a success. Failing to ‘buy over’ the employees with the deal ultimately leads to a total disaster and a lose-lose for everyone involved; and yet too many organizations, who should know better, continue on this destructive path.
The current trend on only focusing on short-term wealth creation loses sight of the very basic human aspect of all successful businesses and is a sorry reflection on how blind today’s corporate boards and shareholder institutions have become to the very basic fundamental ingredients of business success.
Yet as Martin highlights “if you have something that will render an acquisition company more competitive, however, the picture changes. As long as the acquisition can’t make the enhancement on its own – ideally – with any other acquirer, you, rather than the seller, will earn the rewards that flow from the enhancement. An acquirer can improve its target’s competitiveness in four ways: by being a smarter provider of growth capital; by providing better managerial oversight; by transferring valuable skills; and by sharing valuable capabilities,” (p.44).
This is where the smart money should be investing in organizations and their leaders who look at how they can add true value to the acquiring organization. This is the win-win scenario and if ‘sold’ correctly during the acquisition process will lead to a positive culture and an excited ‘joint’ workforce – looking to be ‘stronger’ together than they were apart. This isn’t about ‘power’ but synergy.
Finally Martin mentions how “right now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is hailed as a business genius, Facebook has become one of the most valuable companies in the world, and his shareholders are perfectly happy to watch him fork out $21.8 billion for a company (WhatsApp) with a handful of engineers and $10 million in revenues. As long as the stock price keeps rising because the base business is prospering, acquisitions don’t have to actually make sense. But history shows that when things turn sour for the base business – think of Nortel, Bank of America, WorldCom and Tyco – shareholders start looking more closely at acquisitions and asking, What were they thinking? That’s why it pays to have a strong strategic logic for your acquisitions, even when the market isn’t asking for it. And what the acquirer puts into the deal determines the value that comes out of it,” (p.48).
Martin, R. L. (2016). M&A: The One Thing You Need to get Right. Harvard Business Review, June, p.42-48.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Are Leaders Failing Organizations?

Martin Reeves, Simon Levin and Daichi Ueda investigated the longevity of more than 30,000 public firms in the United States over a period 50 year span and the results were stark: businesses are disappearing faster than ever before. Where they found that “public companies have a one in three chance of being delisted in the next five years, whether because of bankruptcy, liquidation, M&A, or other causes. That’s six times the delisting rate of companies 40 years ago. Although we may perceive corporations as enduring institutions, they now die, on average, at a younger age than their employees. And the rise in mortality applies regardless of size, age, or sector. Neither scale nor experience guards against an early demise,” (HBR, 2016, p.48).
Reeves, Levin and Ueda “believe that companies are dying younger because they are failing to adapt to the growing complexity of their business environment. Many misread the environment, select the wrong approach to strategy, or fail to support a viable approach with the right behaviors and capabilities,” (p.48).
But this is a simple failure in modern day leadership. The business environment hasn’t suddenly become changeable in the 21st century, business environments have always been changing – less we forget the industrial revolution, for example.
The problem is that leadership has become ‘lazy’ and reactive in too many instances. Developing dynamic strategies is nothing new – good leaders know that they need an agile, flexible organization to respond to changes in their market place or even outside their market place, when there’s an option to diversify and expand. This is leadership 101.
Sadly the basic rules of corporate governance are just being ignored. Look at the UK construction company ‘Carillion’ – who have recently been placed under administration. Fingers are being pointed in all different directions in the blame game – but if we put our feet firmly on the ground, it’s the leadership of Carillion who failed their company, not the UK government, and not anyone else.
Too many leaders today want to earn ‘fat’ salaries but don’t want to take the accountability that comes with the ‘job’. This just makes life way too easy and means, without accountability, these mostly ‘white middle aged men’ simply don’t care enough and leave their organizations vulnerable to failure, while living the high life.
Reeves, Levin and Ueda do give some tips for organizations to be more aware and agile – but this isn’t rocket science – and the boards of organizations just need to ‘care’ more about their organizations future.
Tip One: Organizations need to be realistic about what they can predict and control, what they can shape collaboratively, and what is beyond the reach of managerial influence. A clear example is the financial crisis of 2007-2008, during which risk created by subprime lending in the U.S. real estate market spread catastrophically throughout the global financial system.
Tip two: Organizations need to look beyond what their firms own or control, monitoring and addressing complexity outside their firms. CEOs must ensure that their companies contribute positively to the system while receiving benefits sufficient to justify participation. Consider Sony, which brought out the first e-reader three years before Amazon’s but lost decisively to the Kindle and withdrew from the market in 2014. Because it failed to provide a compelling value proposition that would mobilize key components of the publishing ecosystem – authors and publishers – it could offer only 800 titles when its e-reader launched. In contrast, Amazon initially sacrificed profits, selling e-books for less than what it paid publishers. It also invested in digital rights management to spur the growth of the ecosystem. With the support of other stakeholders, it launched with 88,000 e-books ready for download.
Tip Three: Leaders must embrace the inconvenient truth that attempts to directly control agents at lower levels of the system often create counterintuitive outcomes at higher levels, such as the stagnation of a strategy or the collapse of an ecosystem. They must avoid relying on simplistic casual models and trying only to directly manage individual behavior, and instead seek to shape the context for behavior.
Good tips by Reeves, Levin and Ueda though slightly full of ‘MBA speak’ rather than simple understandable language. Leadership is not rocket science and using fancy language doesn’t change that fact. For me it still goes to the concept suggested by Jim Collins of “having the right people on the bus, getting the wrong people off the bus, and ensuring everyone is in the right seat” – and this is especially true for leadership.
Sadly I think too many organizations are in a cycle of bad leaders developing bad leaders – with their employees simply fed up and just doing what they have to do to survive day-to-day. If organizations can’t shake themselves up then shareholders need to start taking some accountability and demanding change.
Until organizations get back to a cycle of great leaders developing great leaders, organizations will continue to fail on a regular basis – and the bad, unaccountable leadership will blame anything else but themselves – and we must stop being naïve and believing them.
There’s a great quote that states “never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer care” and organizations have been doing this to their employee base for far too long – and suffering from the consequences.
Reeves, Levin and Ueda do highlight how “in society, complex adaptive systems require cooperation in order to be robust; where direct control of system participants is rarely possible. Individual interests often conflict, and when individuals pursue their own selfish interests, the system overall becomes weaker, and everyone suffers. Trust and the enforcement of reciprocity combine to provide a mechanism for organizations to overcome this quandary. To leverage the power of trust, leaders should consider how their firms contribute to other stakeholders in their ecosystem. They must ensure that they are adding value to the system even as they seek to maximize profits,” (p.55).
For those that can influence the future of organizations – owners, shareholders and corporate boards – let’s pause to assess our leadership and not settle for anything but ‘excellence in leadership’.
Reeves, M., Levin, S. and Ueda, D. (2016). The Biology of Corporate Survival. Harvard Business Review, Jan-Feb, p.46-55.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Year in Review: 2017

I hope 2017 has been good to you – in general, at a global level, I’d suggest that 2017 has been an interesting year, for sake of more stronger words and I wonder how history will look back on it. The rich have definitely got richer and the poor, poorer. Corruption has continued to increase in both business and politics; customer service seems to be an afterthought; and the US turned its back on dealing with Global Warming. Let’s hope 2018 is a better year for all.   
The year started with the inauguration of Donald Trump in January as the 45th President of the United States. The Trump Administration caused controversy in the days after the inauguration when it claimed to have ‘perhaps record-breaking crowd attendance’, despite photographic evidence suggesting otherwise. The President’s then Press Secretary Sean Spicer boasted the crowd ‘was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe’, later accusing the media of reporting inaccurate crowd estimates.
Setting the tone for a year when elections brought big changes in governance, in January Adama Barrow ended Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule in the Gambia. Jammeh, whose exit terms meant he avoided prosecution and was able to keep many assets, departed only after mediation by West African neighbours and the threat of armed intervention.
Kim Jong-un grabbed the headlines on February 12 when he ordered the launch of a ballistic missile over the Sea of Japan. It was the nation’s first missile test of Mr Trump’s presidency and sparked a bitter feud between Kim and the US leader, which is ongoing still.
Also in February while Chad’s foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, was elected as the new head of the African Union, outgoing chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma condemned the proposed US travel ban on refugees from Somalia, Libya and Sudan. Morocco rejoined the AU after a row over the status of Western Sahara more than 30 years ago. Three UN agencies warned that Somalia was facing a ‘very real’ risk of famine, with more than 6 million people, half the population, facing acute food insecurity. Humanitarian groups said there was a ‘small window’ to stop a repeat of the 2011 famine, when an estimated 260,000 people starved to death in the country after a slow response from donors.
March saw Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, finally trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, officially starting the process of the UK’s departure from the European Union. The Prime Minister told the Commons at the time: ‘This is a historic moment from which there can be no turning back. Britain is leaving the European Union.’ Britain is currently due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.
Also in March International Women’s Day on 8 March included a call for a global strike. In New York, the Commission on the Status of Women ended with commitments by states to advance women’s economic empowerment by implementing equal pay policies, gender audits and job evaluations. El Salvador made history as the first nation to impose a blanket ban on metal mining. Campaigners celebrated a victory for ‘water over gold’. Also a powerful video report showed how anti-slavery activists are often the only chance of escape for the thousands of vulnerable Russians lured from cities to the remote republic of Dagestan, where they are enslaved in rural brick factories and farms.
On the morning of April 7, US President Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles to be fired at the Shayrat airbase in Syria. The strike was in response to a chemical attack three days earlier, which saw the Syrian Government allegedly airdrop toxic gas on the town of Khan Shaykhun, killing 74 people and injuring more than 557 others, according to the Idlib health authority.
Also in April it emerged that international aid agencies in Nepal were paying the government hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to get their projects approved. Citing year-long delays, they accused the authorities of hampering their work as the country struggles to recover from the 2015 earthquake. The World Health Organization (WHO) lauded record-breaking progress in tackling sleeping sickness, elephantiasis and other tropical diseases that affect one in six people globally.
On May 22, after an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in the UK, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds of others - many of them children. About two weeks later, the singer returned to the UK to host a benefit concert at Old Trafford Cricket Ground dubbed One Love Manchester. The concert raised some £10million for the victims of the attack.
Also in May G20 health ministers in Berlin called for a faster response to global health risks, such as infectious disease outbreaks and antimicrobial resistance; and research by a coalition of UK and African campaigners showed that more wealth leaves Africa every year than enters it, by more than $40bn.
In June the US President, Donald Trump, announced that America would be pulling out of the landmark Paris climate agreement. Trump claimed the Paris agreement ‘front-loads costs on American people’, ‘disadvantages the US to benefit other countries’ and causes ‘vastly diminished economic production’. The move was widely condemned by other world leaders.
Also in June supermarkets in the UK pulled corned beef off shelves after the Guardian UK and Brazilian journalists found the products could contain meat linked to slave labour on cattle farms.
On July 4, North Korean officials launched its first test of an intercontinental missile, which the reclusive nation claimed could strike ‘anywhere in the world’. In response to the launch Mr Trump tweeted: ‘North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?’
A stunning total solar eclipse, dubbed The Great American Eclipse, blocked out the Sun across the US on August 21. The path of totality crossed 14 states and was the first total solar eclipse to be visible from all of the US since 1918.
Also in August the number of South Sudanese fleeing across the border to Uganda passed a million. A further million had fled into Ethiopia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in what has become the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.
In September hurricanes devastate the Americas. Where the Caribbean and swathes of the US were battered by a string of hurricanes including the powerful Irma and Maria. The two storms killed more than 200 people and caused billions of dollars-worth of damage.
Also in September Brazil investigated the alleged slaughter of Amazonian tribespeople by gold miners, while the scale of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya in Myanmar became more apparent to the world.
On October 1, 58 people were killed when Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crown of concert-goers from his hotel room in Las Vegas Nevada. The attack is the deadliest US mass shooting to date and reignited calls for tougher gun control laws nationwide, throughout the US.
October also saw Catalonia vote for independence from Spain in a referendum that was later declared unlawful by the international community.
On November 5, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung released millions of documents, dubbed the Panama Papers, highlighting the dubious financial activities of some politicians, celebrities and businesses.
Also in November, after 37 years in power, Robert Mugabe was forced to resign as President of Zimbabwe, following a military coup in the southern African nation. The six-day takeover resulted in Mugabe’s former ally Emmerson Mnangagwa being sworn in as President.
On December 6, Donald Trump made the controversial decision to formally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move was widely condemned and Mr Trump was even accused of issuing a ‘declaration of war’. Most world leaders branded the President’s speech as ‘unhelpful’, arguing that it could/would destabilise peace in the region.
Finally in December there was a sense of deja vu about a report on women in sub-Saharan Africa being forced to have sex to pay off their medical bills, an issue that remains perennially under-addressed; and sadly like so many other issues in the world today simply does not get enough attention from the main stream media, as passing mention is simply not good enough.
As the world struggles to re-find the true value of democracy, power in politics and business, seem to be the theme in the 21st Century and I can only hope and pray that we, the world, find some truly great leaders to set a new course of prosperity for all – not just the privileged few.
And let’s remember just a few people who departed during 2017;
Gordon Kaye, the 'Allo 'Allo! Star, passed away aged 75 on 23 January in a care home. The actor - who is best known for his role as Rene Artois in the British TV comedy - left behind an impressive legacy and career. He appeared in all 84 episodes of the show for a decade until 1992, and reprised the role 1,2000 times in the stage adaptation.
Mary Tyler Moore, the American actress, died on 25 January at the age of 80. Moore shot to stardom as a suburban housewife in 1960s comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show. She went on to play the role as Mary Richards on 'The Mary Tyler Moore' show from 1970 to 1977. The TV icon had a long battle with diabetes.
Sir John Hurt, the actor, died on 25 January, aged 77, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He played roles in a number of blockbuster films, including Elephant Man, Alien and Harry Potter. He also appears in the biopic Jackie, about the widow of John F Kennedy.
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson died on 8 February, aged 45. The former It girl, who more recently appeared on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, had recently revealed a secret year-long battle with a brain tumour. Doctors discovered the tumour in January last year.
Neil Fingleton - Britain and the EU's tallest man died on 25 February, reportedly of heart failure. The County Durham native was best-known for his portrayal of Mag the Mighty in HBO's Game of Thrones and as Doctor Who villain the Fischer King. Moving to the US to pursue a career in basketball, Fingleton eventually found his calling in the acting industry.
John Surtees, the only man to win the Formula One and motorcycle Grand Prix titles, died on March 10 at the age of 83. Surtees, who won the F1 title in 1964 to add to his 500cc motorcycle world titles from 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960, "passed away peacefully".
Chuck Berry – The musical icon died on March 18 at the age of 90. The rock n' roll legend - known as the father of that movement - had been producing music since the 1950s and wrote pioneering tracks such as Johnny B Goode. His first No.1 came in 1972 with My Ding-a-Ling. He was the great-grandchild of African-American slaves, and his parents, Martha and Henry Berry, migrated from the South during World War I to St Louis in search of work.
Ugo Ehiogu – The Tottenham Hotspur Under-23 coach passed away on April 21. The former England and Aston Villa defender was rushed to hospital after collapsing at Tottenham's training centre. The 44-year-old received medical treatment on site before being transferred to hospital by ambulance. But doctors were unable to save him.
Erin Moran, best known for playing Joanie Cunningham on Happy days, died on April 22, aged 56. According to TMZ, the actress was found unresponsive on Saturday afternoon by authorities in Indiana. Henry Winkler, who starred opposite Moran as The Fonz in the iconic series, tweeted: "OH you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth."
Michael Mantenuto – The former Disney star, best known for his role as Jack O'Callahan in the 2004 film Miracle, died on April 24, aged 35. The actor committed suicide at Saltwater State park, where his body was found in his car. The former actor - who had quit Hollywood for the army - was a University of Maine hockey star before getting his acting break in Miracle, which chronicled the victory of the U.S. hockey team over the much favored Soviet Union team in the 1980 Olympic Games.
Sir Roger Moore died on May 23, aged 89, in Switzerland after a short battle with cancer. The London-born star is best known for playing famous secret agent James Bond, 007.
John Noakes of Blue Peter fame died on May 28 aged 83. John was Blue Peter’s longest-serving presenter. He joined the hit children's show on 30th December 1956 and left the programme after twelve and a half years on 26th June 1978. He is considered by many to have been the most successful and memorable Blue Peter presenter in its entire history. He was known for his daredevil stunts and looked after Blue Peter dog Shep.
Michael Bond – The revered creator of Paddington Bear passed away at the age of 91 on June 28. Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, said: "I feel privileged to have been Michael Bond's publisher - he was a true gentleman, a bon viveur, the most entertaining company and the most enchanting of writers. He will be forever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington, with his duffle coat and wellington boots, which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations.”
Martin Landau passed away aged 89 on July 15. The Oscar-winner died of "unexpected complications" during a brief spell in a Los Angeles hospital, his publicist Dick Guttman said. Landau's career began in the 1950s when he landed a supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest. He then went on to become a series regular in Mission Impossible.
Deborah Watling – the Doctor Who actress passed away on July 21, six weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Watling began her acting career aged just 9 years old, but her big TV break came when she landed the role of companion in Doctor Who, alongside the 2nd Doctor Patrick Troughton.
Glen Campbell – The country music legend died on August 8 at the age of 81. The singer passed away after a "long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease" in Nashville, with the news of his death revealed in a statement on his official website. Campbell, best known for his hits Rhinestone Cowboy, Wichita Lineman and Gentle On My Mind, was being cared for in a specialist unit.
Jerry Lewis - On August 20, the legendary American comedian and actor passed away aged 91. Jerry, along with his comedy partner Dean Martin, dominated American show business in the 1950s and beyond with his own brand of slapstick humour. As well as his comedy, Jerry was also an actor, singer and director - as well as a humanitarian activist.
Bruce Forsyth – The legendary entertainer and face of dance show Strictly Come Dancing died at the age of 89. Bruce is recognised by the Guinness World Records as having the longest television career for a male entertainer. He shot to fame in the mid-1950s on ITV series Sunday Night at the London Palladium, before hosting shows like The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right, The Price Is Right and You Bet! - and was well known for his catchphrase, "Nice to see you, to see you nice" – which went on to be voted the most popular UK catchphrase in 2007 by the British public.
Hugh Hefner - The founder of Playboy died on September 27 at the age of 91. A spokesman said he died "peacefully" from "natural causes" at his home The Playboy Mansion in Hollywood "surrounded by loved ones." Hefner launched Playboy magazine in 1953 and the X-rated brand spawned TV and film companies and the famous mansion where he lived alongside dozens of his 'Bunnies'.
Fats Domino – The legendary rock and roll singer died on October 25 at the age of 89. His biggest hits included Blueberry Hill and Ain’t That A Shame. The star amassed 35 US Billboard Top 40 successes, selling over 100 million records and influencing a number of other musicians including Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
Heather North - The actress, best known for voicing the character of Daphne in Scooby Doo, died on November 30 aged 71. The star voiced the character for 33 years and reportedly died at her home in Los Angeles after battling an illness for a long time. She also starred in Days of Our Lives and The Fugitive, and played Kurt Russell's love interest in Disney's 1971 movie, The Barefoot Executive.
David Cassidy – The former teen heartthrob died aged 67 after suffering acute liver and kidney failure. The Partridge Family star had been in a medically induced coma after being taken to hospital in Florida when his faltering health declined. The 67-year-old pop idol, who suffered years of alcohol abuse, had been battling dementia in the final months of his life following his dramatic fall from grace of the adoration he once knew.
Christine Keeler - The model, whose affair with Tory Cabinet Minister John Profumo rocked British politics to its core, died aged 75 after suffering from a lung condition for several months. She was propelled into the global spotlight at only age 19 after an affair with the Secretary of State for War and a Russian diplomat during the Cold War.
And may all who left us in 2017 rest eternally in peace:
Lamble, L. (2017). The year’s top development stories: 2017 in Review. The Guardian UK. Published 11:00 Dec 25, 2017.
Tambini, J. (2017). Year in review 2017. The Shocking events that changed the world in 2017. The Express UK. Published 13:57 Dec 23, 2017.