Tension between Chairman and Chief Executive

 

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    Debbie Wright
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    You are a non-executive director on the board of a listed company in the financial services sector. 3 years ago the Chairman and non-executive directors had been instrumental in removing the Chief Executive, a colourful, charismatic, character with a big reputation, as he had been unable to revive the company’s fortunes and had lost the confidence of both the shareholders and the regulator.
    His replacement, an internal candidate, was seen as a safe pair of hands to steady the ship and implement the strategy which had been agreed by the board, to clean up the company’s operations, to the satisfaction of the regulator, and improve performance to satisfy the restless shareholders.
    Unfortunately the new Chief Executive has not managed to make as much progress as either the regulator or shareholders would have wanted. The board has recently appointed a new Chairman who is keen to get the company back on track and there is clearly some tension between him and the Chief Executive.

    As a non-executive director, how can you act to help resolve this situation? What is your role and what options should the board explore?

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