When the CEO just has to go

Immense
pressure on CEOs means that "CEO churn" is an increasing phenomenon.
Stepehen Overell charts five recent high profile instances.

February
2001: US management consultancy Arthur D Little dismisses chief executive Lorenzo
Lamadrid, after dissatisfaction with the firm’s financial performance. Lamadrid
had been negotiating an aborted merger with PA Consulting, the biggest UK-owned
management consultancy. The firm is slashing staff worldwide by 6 per cent in
an attempt to solve a cash flow crisis.

E-district.net,
a provider of games and chat on the Internet, dismisses chief executive Steven
Laitman and starts legal action against him after discovering that many of the
company’s users and revenues had been fabricated. Internal monthly reports were
manipulated, overstating the level of revenue.

March
2001: Vontobel, one of Switzerland’s largest banks, sacks chief executive Jorg
Fischer, along with his deputy Hans-Peter Bachmann and chief financial officer,
Walter Kaiser, after an aborted Internet banking venture. The firm also
discovered irregularities in its corporate finance department, with credit
limits being broken and accounting guidelines infringed.

West
Midlands-based printer Cradley Print calls an extraordinary meeting to oust its
finance director. Geoff Gibbons, who was asked to leave the board following a
disagreement over future development. Gibbons refuses to resign until a number
of issues, including his compensation, are clarified.

BT
denies charges that a change at the top is necessary to get institutional
investors to provide the cash for a rights issue. It says chairman Sir Iain
Vallance was due to retire anyway in 2002 and the company was merely engaged in
succession planning. Sir Peter Bonfield, the company’s chief executive, also
comes under pressure to resign.

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