Daily Archives: January 4, 2012

If you seek a lively leadership campaign, the place for you is not Iowa or New Hampshire but China. Instead of caucusing among voters in schools and halls, these all-action candidates are punishing Walmart in Chongqing and pacifying 13,000 irate villagers in Guangdong.

Andrew Hill

It’s more common to cite strategic than structural differences as a reason for resignation. But Carla Smits-Nusteling – one of the most prominent women in Dutch business – is quitting KPN, the telecoms group, because, in the words of Tuesday’s statement, “she does not agree with the internal governance of the company in the new executive structure”.

Ms Smits-Nusteling, KPN’s finance director, sat on its management board (which is itself overseen by a supervisory board, in the continental European style). KPN has expanded that board from three people to 12, by bringing in all the divisional heads.

This could be about power. After all, a one-third say in decisions about a company’s operational direction is different from a one-twelfth say. Jos Versteeg, an analyst at Theodoor Gilissen, a Dutch bank, told Dow Jones:

The new management structure might compromise some of [Ms Smits-Nusteling's] executive authorities, handing over more power to the CEO, which could be the reason for her dissatisfaction.

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