'I read with interest your article on Managing Directors and the view that there are too many of us, and that 20% of us could eventually be axed. But sadly you miss two obvious points:
The role of Managing Director was created in our industry when it was realised that someone actually had to do some real work and, perhaps more importantly, that it was vital to have someone senior around to take the blame when yet more shit hit the fan.
Let's face it, who else has the relationships to bring in those deals, or the savvy and guts to place those huge prop trading bets (not that we admit to doing that sort of thing anymore, of course) ?
What exactly do you think our senior executives do ? Sure, they attend Oscar parties, get hauled before Congress every now and then, and rock up to jolly at Davos every year, but how do they actually add value and justify their multi-million dollar compensation packages ? Do they actually do any real work ?
And what do these (mostly) guys have to do to get fired. Ultimately responsible for organisations (allegedly) involved in money-laundering, financing terrorists, manipulating global interest rates, and sustaining huge trading losses (or, as Jamie Dimon famously said: 'A storm in a tea cup'), these people appear unsackable. Hell, Britain's Barclays Bank only parted company with CEO Bob Diamond because he was an American (the biggest crime of all over there)!
Then there's our dear junior colleagues - the support staff. Support! The only thing most of them support is themselves after an over-long boozy lunch! And then there's the constant complaining about the long hours, the stress, and the pay (or lack of it). Christ, if they only had half a brain they'd be Managing Directors!!
They just don't get it, do they ? If it wasn't for us MDs, the vast legions of operations, IT, HR, Compliance and other 'support' staff wouldn't actually have anything to support anyway. And where would that leave them ? Flipping burgers at Mackie Ds, that's where! (and that's if they were lucky).
So, if you really want to get costs down and productivity up, get rid of all those hapless executives, and throw a few thousand more support staff on the fire! In the meantime, long live Managing Directors, guys like me who do all the heavy lifting, and who are always there to carry the can when things go horribly wrong'.
image: © Kheel Center