Looking back today, the warning signs were all there when John Flint got named CEO 18 months ago. The important new player was the new chairman, Mark Tucker, not Flint as CEO. Tucker was the outsider named to help the bank accelerate through a point of inflection. Flint was the “safe option” with a 28-year run at the bank across geographies and functions. But Flint missed the point of inflection and refused to move as fast towards the future as his new boss wanted him to move.
It’s almost the same story as John Flannery at GE who lasted only 14 months as CEO because of his lack of speed and decisiveness. Accelerating through a strategic point of inflection requires a change in strategy, culture, organization and operation all in sync and all at the same time.