18 November 2009

Wednesday Randomness

I notice that Archie Norman is to be the next person to take over the doomed-ITV network

He is known for building up Asda from near bankruptcy before its sale to American giant Wal-mart in 1999, as well as heading retail giant Kingfisher before that, and for being the only FTSE 100 chairman to have ever sat in the Commons (apparently)

I couldn't help remembering Rod Liddle's recent article about how these top directorship jobs always go to the same people, who are often seemingly about as bright as an EU-standard light-bulb and proceed to run companies into the ground - he was referring to Terry Burns specifically, and clearly Norman is very successful in business - but I couldn't help thinking why appoint someone who's been successful in retail in a publicly-owned media company? He did excellent work building up retail chains - but isn't that somewhat different to increasing profitability for a television channel that's on its knees?

What skill set does he bring? There's only a track record of success in retail - if you are good at leading a company in one field does that naturally mean you can lead any company? Is it just a success thing, you either got it or you don't?

Because to me, all I see is ITV saying about a champion swimmer 'ooh he's good, let's have him', when they're in a rowing competition

I'm not out to disparage the man, I'm just struggling to work out why being the very successful head of a retail giant means you can run a TV network - is he just smart enough to make profit out of anything?

From what I've seen of top executives, if you actually are bright, and not just some rich bastard, you can usually make anything work, Terry Leahy would be comparable as chief executive for example - but it still strikes me as odd to not go for a successful media man (although I admit they're running out of them)


Secondly, why is a fairly obscure story about an Australian independent senator's challenge to Scientology the most read (international) story on BBC? It's only in the sidebar, and yet it's above Obama and all the rest

I only pick up on this because I happen to be there, and it's just Nick Xenophon saying things - it's not the government attacking it, or throwing it out

The power of Scientology eh?...

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