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'Absence of relevant biz prospects lead to top level exits'

Last Updated: Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 12:06

New Delhi: Lack of relevant business opportunities amid adverse economic conditions many a time leads to the departure of top executives at corporates in both developing and developed nations, say experts.

In recent times, tough economic conditions and missteps have resulted in exodus of very experienced and high profile executives as were seen in the cases of British banking major Barclays and JPMorgan Chase.

Leading consultancy Deloitte in India's Senior Director P Thiruvengadam told PTI that in India and other developing markets, the trend of senior level departures were usually on account of many factors besides ethical and governance issues.

Among others, "lack of relevant 'business growth' opportunity within the overall sector", puts the onus on top leadership to find new sources for keeping up with pace of growth, he said.

Last week, Barclays' chairman, CEO and COO exited in a span of two days following global interest rate rigging scandal. Heavy trading loss - stemming from uncertain market conditions and excessive risk-taking -- saw the fall of JPMorgan Chase's the Chief Investment Officer Ina Drew, who had been associated with the company for nearly 30 years.

"The prospects of growth for a company are much depend on the economic situation as well as external conditions... In the last decade, the frequency of economic slowdown hitting businesses has increased.

"As a result, top executives are faced with challenges," global HR firm Hay Group's Leadership and Talent Practice Leader (South & South East Asia, Pacific & Africa geographies) Mohinish Sinha said.

According to Thiruvengadam, the real downside is faced by a company board when the economic conditions start impacting top line and bottom-line.

"The occurring of any event ? economic, legal or others ? leads to board room issues, mostly in those cases, where the board members have not shown the foresight and ability to question the CXO and ensure that there is a ready plan at least to meet such a scenario," he noted.

Hay Group's Sinha said that top management now have to create growth opportunities since economic conditions are bad.

The leaders need to adapt themselves to changing situation and many might not be able to do the same. Consequently, there are chaotic situations and fixed working situations are not there anymore, he pointed out.

Further, he said that there was need to have "living organisations rather than fixed systems".

On instances where the top management is found on the wrong, global consultancy Ernst & Young's Advisory Partner & Risk Leader Neville Dumasia said problems were basically at the individual level rather than "generalising it for the whole corporate". "Everything depends on the frame of mind of the
individual and the circumstances which led him/her to proceed down the path," Dumasia said.

In countries such as the US and the UK, there are norms in place that link CEO compensation with the organisation's performance.

"In addition, the eco-system of whistle blowing, etc, have empowered vendors, customers to object to instances of wrong doing observed and which have led to multiple instances of the leadership being involved and their subsequent removal," Dumasia noted.

Meanwhile, experts opined that companies should always have succession plans in place.

Deloitte's Thiruvengadam said that systematic grooming right from mid management level makes sure that the leadership pipeline is always there.


First Published: Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 12:06
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