Sunday, November 11, 2012

How Long Should a New CEO Have to ‘Settle In’ to their Job?

After 55 days in the job George Entwistle, the boss of the BBC, resigned from his job last night (10th November) – though some commentators suggest he was pushed out. But is it fair for a newly appointed CEO to fall on his sword after only 55 days?
Clearly huge mistakes have taken place under his short watch leading to the media, especially from the Rupert Murdoch stable, jumping on to these mind boggling blunders with blood curdling lustre. But who should be held accountable when a CEO is just getting to grips with their new role?
Where are the operational managers and editors who are responsible for the actual mistakes and why aren’t they holding up their hands and taking responsibility for their errors. Also where are the Chairman  and the rest of the ‘board’ who should have been supporting their newly appointed CEO in this initial period.
George Entwistle made the following statement about his resignation saying “when appointed to the role with 23 years’ experience as a producer and leader at the BBC, I was confident the trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead. However the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader” (Sunday Times,  11-11-12, p.4).
It seems to me that the person who could be expected to know least about the situation – unless someone went directly to him with concerns or facts, has taken the fall for the mistakes of others. Is this part of the ‘danger package’ that comes with taking on a new CEO role? If it is,  then one can expect CEO’s to take a completely different approach to their first 100 days in the future and become complete detail merchants – not wanting to trust their executives to do the jobs they are paid to do. And if they do take this approach, what will this do the culture and motivation of the organisation (let alone the top team) as rumours of this new ‘style’ sweep through the organisation and how will this affect the new CEO’s hope of building a positive culture going forward.
In an article by Ken Favaro, Per-Ola Karlsson, Jon Katzenbach and Gary Neilson of Booz and Company they mention that 80% of CEOs today are appointed from within the ranks of their companies. Where this trend has held steady over the last 11 years in the top 2,500 companies by market cap.
There are so many questions around, how long should a CEO have to settle in to a new role; how long should a board give them before they can be held fully accountable for the ‘running’ of their organisation and fired (or accept their resignation) for blatant mistakes made by their executives? Also should boards consider different ‘settling in periods’ for external and internal appointments.
But maybe these are the wrong questions? If one believes in the 100 day concept for CEO’s getting to grips with their new role and the organisation – maybe it’s the Chairman and the other executives who should be stepping up to the mark and assuming the responsibilities that they are actually already paid to do – and then taking the responsibility for failings during this period. It certainly shows the power the executive team have to make a new CEO’s job complete hell during their settling in period – but begs the question what kind of people would take such a ruthless, selfish approach to business and the ‘welcoming’ of a new CEO?
Maybe part of the good news in this sorry tragedy is that it is reported that government insiders believe that at least six senior BBC executives are likely to lose their jobs over the McAlpine story and the fallout from the Savile affair, acknowledging that “these people have serious questions to answer.”
The chairman and board must support a new CEO during their first 100 days and beyond – especially as they hired the person in the first place and begs the question, what kind of board hires someone to fail?
Favaro,K.,  Karlsson, P-O., Katzenbach, J.,  and Neilson, G. (2010). Lessons from the Trenches for New CEO’s.  Separating Myths from Game Changers. Booz and Company.

1 comment:

  1. It is a very tough to measure that how much time should a new ceo have to sattle in new job. CEO position job is a very hard working and responsibility job so, every new appointed CEO have need few months time to settle in their job well and handle organization in good way.

    ceo rater