Daily Archives: September 28, 2012

Andrew Hill

In my article on Thursday about chief operating officers, I gave four reasons why chief executives might appoint someone to this hard-to-define role – to succeed them, to support them, to liberate them, and to tackle a challenge for them. But it seems I left one out: to be a scapegoat.

G4S has underlined my point about how such posts are as easily abolished as they are created, by getting David Taylor-Smith, the group’s chief operating officer, to carry the can for the group’s failure to provide the 10,400 guards who were ordered up to support the London Olympics. (Ian Horseman Sewell, managing director of its global events division, has also resigned). To the embarrassment of the company, organisers and UK government, the security shortfall had to be covered at the last minute by the military (who, of course, did a brilliant job). Read more

Andrew Hill

“National interests in the sphere of strategic-level business have all but disappeared,” claims a senior executive of EADS in a new book. But the opinion of Lutz Bertling, chief executive of the group’s Eurocopter subsidiary, is now being tested in battle, as national governments wrangle over what a merger between EADS and BAE Systems would look like.

To be fair, the German executive’s chapter – “Commercial Top Strategic Leadership: A Helicopter View” – was written before the EADS-BAE talks became public. But the question of how Mr Bertling’s personal views might apply to the aerospace and defence merger was raised at Thursday’s launch of In Business and Battle, a “cross-cultural, cross-sectoral and international” anthology of insights into strategic military and civilian leadership. The discussion at London’s Royal College of Defence Studies – where Mr Bertling first presented his ideas – was non-attributable. But as one of the distinguished guests said: “Consolidation is right, but whether this is the particular merger that should be backed is still open to some debate.” Read more