Jim Armitage: Natalie Massenet spotted the trend – two bosses don’t workComments Off on Jim Armitage: Natalie Massenet spotted the trend – two bosses don’t work
Two bosses do not a happy business make. This truth has been proved so repeatedly it’s surprising organisations still bother to try, particularly after big mergers.
Remember the double-act disaster of Richard Gamble and Roger Taylor, the co-chiefs who tried and failed to run the merged Royal Insurance and Sun Alliance? The recent ill-fated partnership of Anshu Jain and Jurgen Fitschen at Deutsche Bank? Or, in politics, the simmering resentments and power plays in Vince Cable and Michael Fallon’s business department?
So, after rumours of bickering with the CEO of fashion group Yoox, Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet’s decision to quit while the tailor’s chalk on their merger is still fresh makes a lot of sense.
The problems in nearly all co-boss scenarios are the same: no matter how much they smile together for the cameras, alpha types who’ve reached the top will never cede power to another.
As a result, strategic direction becomes hazy. Tough decisions on who to keep and who to fire get tangled in loyalties and friendships from their previous camps, while senior staff struggle to work out which leader they’re supposed to suck up to.
The result? Muddle, hissy fits and missed profits. Sensible executives planning a merger establish a clear pecking order, even if, as with Peter Long and Friedrich Joussen at the merged Tui travel group, they have a temporary co-reign during a pre-set handover period.
Doubtless Net-A-Porter staff, loyal fans of Massenet’s warm, teambuilding style, will be nervous this morning. Yoox’s Federico Marchetti himself admits his staff don’t like him much.
But in the long run, those who stay will be better off with just one chief.
Nissan: Steer clear of politics
It’s great to hear Nissan pledging another £100 million investment in its Sunderland car plant. But the Japanese company’s decision makes a nonsense of its dire warnings that it would reconsider the factory’s future in the event of a Yes vote in a referendum to leave the EU.
Europhiles could present Nissan’s decision as a £100 million bet that sensible British voters will opt to stay in. But that’s too much of a stretch.
After all, Nissan’s got form in this kind of stuff.
In 2002, its boss Carlos Ghosn made similar noises about Sunderland’s future, declaring it would have to rethink investing there if Britain didn’t join the euro.
Thankfully, his words were as hollow then as they are now.
Perhaps Nissan should stick to making good cars and keep out of politics.