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Spencer Stuart is looking for the new CEO to replace Bob Diamond. Its own research suggests it should go for a Bill Winters

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Spencer Stuart has been urgently appointed to find a new CEO to replace Bob Diamond. Who will Bob’s replacement be? The Financial Times says there are no perfect candidates.

Fortunately, however, Spencer Stuart has given a strong indication of who it’s likely to advise Barclays’ board to go for.

And that person is: Bill Winters.

The heavy hint is dropped in an ‘informational video’ explaining Spencer Stuart’s approach when advising boards whether to choose insiders or outsiders as replacement CEOs.

Citing Spencer Stuart’s own research into 350 CEO transitions at Fortune 500 companies, Dayton Ogden, ‘global leader of Spencer Stuart’s CEO Succession advisory services,’ explains that internal candidates are better in almost all circumstances, except circumstances in which:

“…a company is challenged and there’s a broken business model or scandal.”

This description would appear to fit Barclays now. Moreover, Barclays is said to have briefed Spencer Stuart that a strong relationship with both British and US regulators is a precondition for whoever’s hired. Having spent time on Wall Street and more recently been a member of the UK’s Vicker’s Commission, Winters would seem to tick this box too.

What if Bill Winters doesn’t want the job? After all, he reportedly turned down UBS last September. In this case, the Wall Street Journal suggests Michael Smith, CEO of ANZ and a former HSBC executive, as a possible external alternative.

And in the event that Barclays does go for an internal candidate?

Ogden also provides some helpful insights into how Spencer Stuart will sift through Barclays’ internal candidates for the CEO role (the two most obvious being Naguib Kheraj – formerly finance director and most recently an advisor to Bob Diamond, and Antony Jenkins – head of the retail business).

First of all, says Ogden, they will advise the board to consider what the internal executive has, “contributed to the performance of the company to date.” Next, they will advise the board to consider what that executive could contribute in future: “The most important thing is not to choose someone for where the cpmpany is today but to think about where that company wants to be further down the road.”

They won’t just stick to super-senior staff: “We also think it’s crucial for boards to look below the level of the direct reports to the CEO,” says Ogden, suggesting some wild cards might come up.

Having identified a few internal CEO candidates Ogden says Spencer Stuart will assess them on six or seven criteria, including: past accomplishments and the pattern of their lives, their aptitude for navigating complex emotional dynamics, their emotional growth and maturity, and whether they’re a good listener.

Lastly, Spencer Stuart will present its carefully evaluated, “roster of internal options,” to the board so that it can consider how the external “CEO-ready” candidates compare to what’s on offer internally, says Ogden.

Watch this space.

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