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Brexit: Gauging the fallout from two European exits

30 June 2016

I was tempted to start my blog with thoughts on the possible consequences of Brexit, but I won’t. No doubt, after a tumultuous few days of stock market volatility, mass resignations, brazen backtracking and sackings, you are likely to be suffering from a touch of ‘Brexit fatigue’.

Instead, England’s early exit from Euro 2016 to minnows Iceland provides a timely, if not unfortunate, parallel to the events following the EU Referendum.

After the shocking and equally unexpected result, England manager Roy Hodgson took even less time than David Cameron to announce his resignation. Now, the FA has the unenviable task of identifying someone to take over before qualification for the next World Cup begins in September.

Journalists, pundits and fans have all highlighted the lack of a standout, available manager to replace Hodgson. Football’s governing body has already stated that it will consider appointing an interim manager to see the national team through this challenging period before a permanent hire can be made.

The modern interim manager, is now a frequent fixture in the dizzying, merry-go-round world of club and international football. Deployed to help keep a team on track in the short to medium term, interims are now a prized asset that help offer the breathing space to find a long-term solution.

The increasing use of interims is matched across the economy and in the public sector too. Not just for ‘gap management’, but also to help lead on particular projects or functions that require specialist skills and expertise.

And now, turning back to Brexit, the UK certainly finds itself in a peculiar situation and one that requires specialist leadership to see us through.  Amidst the political fallout that has ensued the referendum, there are a number of positions that now find themselves vacant and or have fundamentally changed.

Take the Prime Minister’s resignation. His speech touched on a need to do everything in his power to ‘steady the ship’ and provide a ‘period of stability’ before a new leader is appointed and Government formed. For some, this is a great job description for an interim manager.

Similarly, the new leader of the Conservative Party, who will be announced in under nine weeks, will likely take on a quasi-interim role with an early election likely to be called.

Looking across the political divide, there are also calls for an interim leader from within the Labour Party. The vote of no confidence against Jeremy Corbyn is likely to encourage the party’s second leadership contest within 12 months. Depending on how events unfold over the coming days, a Labour MP could find themselves in an interim role leading the opposition.

While the politics and circumstances are very different between these positions, they are all high profile examples of where interim management can be the best course of action - particularly in times of uncertainty.

Bambos Eracleous is a Partner and Head of the Local Government Practice at Odgers Interim

Categories: Local Government


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