Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The year of the CFO

New Year's prediction from the Economist:

For the past decade the prevailing wind in boardrooms has been gentle. Emotional intelligence and innovation have been what counted, and what leaders professed to value. But those ideas are all but finished. No one will talk of EQ (“emotional intelligence quotient”) any more. It will be EVA (“economic value added”) instead. Thinking outside the box (an over-rated activity at the best of times) will not be celebrated. Ticking boxes will be.

As financial skills are valued more highly, CFOs will make it to the corner office in greater numbers than before. Recession, credit crunch and the increasingly complex nature of global companies will all play directly into the bean counter’s hands.
And while the CFO gains, HR and Marketing will lose:
In this new world the HR director might just cling on to his title, but his job will be downgraded to personnel and in particular to payroll.

The marketing director will also lose out. He has already been kicked once by the decline of advertising and kicked again as the power of the internet has made his traditional tools useless. In 2009 his budgets will fall further, as will his status. As for the corporate-social-responsibility supremo, he will be told to take a gap year indefinitely.

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