Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » Editor’s letter: Stay professional, even if your job goes as a result

Editor's letter: Stay professional, even if your job goes as a result

Losing out on the top CFO role in a merger is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly if you've done a good job, suggests Financial Director editor Kevin Reed

FINANCE directors aren’t well known for their larger than life characters (I apologise in advance to those of you that are gregarious and extroverted).

So the idea that FDs would face each other, in a gladiatorial fashion, to fight for the top job during the merger of two companies seems very far-fetched. And, in reality, that’s not really how it works.

Directors of two companies looking to merge are often well known to each other, and soundings, conversations, have taken place among what are almost sector comrades. The awkward conversations and situations are dealt with, ironed out before things get too far down the line.

That doesn’t mean all are straightforward though. Tales of egos destroying deals on the table are not uncommon.

It might sound like the bleedin’ obvious, but you’d expect FDs, and other senior directors to remain professional and do what’s right for stakeholders. In that context, with everyone doing their job well, all should come out of a deal smelling of roses.

But, again, things are never that straightforward. It’s difficult enough setting out a strategy that shows two businesses are better than one – making that happen is another thing entirely…and most mergers and acquisitions fail to drive value.

With that in mind, Financial Director would mischievously recommend manoeuvring your way out of the two merged companies, reputation intact. That sounds like a better option compared to smashing together two accounting IT systems for a more automated finance function.

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