Comment

Comment - Wehring's Way - The Devil's in the Detail for Today's CEOs

Most popular

The alcohol industry is about to become less sweet

Why a sale of Casella is no slam-dunk

Sustainability cues offer a marketing opportunity

How the sugar tax has transformed soft drinks

The digitalisation of the supply chain - Focus

MORE

When it comes to being the CEO of a company, knowing where the stapler is kept - and how to order replacement staples - is way more important than the sweeping, quotable gesture.

//i2.aroq.com/1/twe.jpg

The time of the charismatic leader comes and goes, but only ever lasts for long when it's backed up by the rest of the family. Examples that spring to mind are Patrick Ricard at Pernod Ricard, and Vijay Mallya at India's UB Group. Colourful CEOs at PLCs, meanwhile, rarely surface, and hardly ever for long, usually clutching the reins during a transitory phase for the company, and proffered as a familiar sort to a company undergoing a sizeable change.

Exhibit A: David Dearie at Treasury Wine Estates.

Earlier today, the wine company announced that Dearie has left the business with immediate effect. Dearie is just such a charismatic type, popular with the media and happy to share his opinions while being not the most operational-savvy sort. “The board believes the company now needs a chief executive with a stronger operational focus and the right balance of skills to deliver our ambitious growth targets,” said Treasury in today's announcement.

Now, I mean no disrespect at all to those less colourful folk holding the hot seats elsewhere. Hey, you're charged with running a company, not with wooing the press.

But, it's clear to me that a CEO big on making bold statements might – just might – be found wanting on the detail. Recall, Dearie was promoted internally to head up Treasury, then part of Foster's Group, in 2012, as Foster's prepared to demerge its beer and wine businesses.

A demerger process is stressful at the best of times – even moreso for Foster's, I'll wager, after failing to find a buyer for its wine operations. So, a familiar face will help the medicine go down. Whether that individual covers the full range of job requirements is secondary.

Treasury's announcement in July that it would destroy its old and out-of-date stock in the US, resulting in a AUD160m (US$145.7m) hit to fiscal 2013 pre-tax profits, is operational weakness writ large.  Again, Treasury backs up this theory: “The recent inventory issue in the USA ... significantly dented our overall performance for fiscal 2013 and was a key factor in this decision,” it said today.

Irrespective of Dearie's backing of the decision to take the writedown in the US, and much as I argued at the time that the move was the right one to take, hindsight suggests that Dearie was the right man at the right time.

But, not this time.


Related Content

Maintaining consumer trust in the social media age - Comment

Maintaining consumer trust in the social media age - Comment...

Is diversification the future for beer? - Comment

Is diversification the future for beer? - Comment...

What's coming up in beer in 2018? - Predictions for the Year Ahead - Comment

What's coming up in beer in 2018? - Predictions for the Year Ahead - Comment...

What are the advantages of social media marketing and will it ever replace traditional media for drinks brands? - Analysis

What are the advantages of social media marketing and will it ever replace traditional media for dri...

Oops! This article is copy protected.

Why can’t I copy the text on this page?

The ability to copy articles is specially reserved for people who are part of a group membership.

How do I become a group member?

To find out how you and your team can copy and share articles and save money as part of a group membership call Sean Clinton on
+44 (0)1527 573 736 or complete this form..



Forgot your password?