Jim Citrin, leader, CEO Practice at headhunter Spencer Stuart, offered insights into what makes for a successful media company leader.
Given that technology now plays an increasingly central role in how media is produced and consumed, Citrin’s company wondered if direct experience of tech issues determined whether CEOs would be successful or not.
He said he found no such trend, but “there was an even split between creative and commercial leaders”.
There were also a few hybrids (Citrin gave Adam Crozier as an example).
He said company boards tend to oscillate - replacing a creative with a commercial leader, and then vice versa. A hybrid executive might then the answer because they can attract other creatives to work in the company, and yet commercial enough to understand the business threats and opportunities.
Spencer Stuart also realised that it was crucial to cast the right person for the situation.
Citrin discussed some of the other management characteristics than can contribute to success: “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has a relentless ability to ask questions – it’s how he drills down to the details and nuances of a situation.”
And Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has developed an incredibly effective way of handling annual appraisals for his senior managers: “Every year he sends a thank you note to each of his managers.”
Report by Gordon Jamieson. Photo by Paul Hampartsoumian.