Succession at BP

July 27, 2006

Succession at BP


The BP succession announcement that occurred this week raises several questions. On one hand, a company is not about a single individual (CEO Lord John Browne). True. On the other hand, leadership reputation matters significantly. Also true. The fact that Lord Browne has to retire at the mandatory age of 60 is unfortunate for BP. Some lucky company gets to hire Browne in 2008. Reminds me of Royal Dutch Shell’s luck in capturing Nokia’s Jorma Ollila as their chairman. [Ironic that the letters of the word “oil” are in Ollila’s name.]

Retirement at the age of 60 is outdated. 60 is too young and should be changed to 65. However, the premise that new leadership brings new ideas to advance the business is not out of date. GE’s Jeff Immelt is a good example of ground-breaking change that came after a legendary and extraordinarily successful CEO, Jack Welch.

Makes perfect sense. Just need to add five years.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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