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Best CEO Candidate: Marketers or Engineers?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

When Carlos Ghosn took the helm at Nissan, he immediately removed top managers who are marketing people and replaced them with engineers. It’s one of his recipes for the near-impossible turnaround success of Nissan. Plus the 500 days a year on the airplane.

So who's the best? I know management logic tells us it’s the combination of both that propels an enterprise.

But since Adam Smith decided to write the Wealth of Nation, and human being is so fond of his reckoning, specialization only means that there’s always a trade-off when it’s a combo of both.

The Quest For Answer

My CEO colleague recently entrusted me with a consultative responsibility (with a bloated fee, as always) to appoint his successor . So after some scrutiny I did in their organization, I decided to study Mr. Ghosn’s approach by doing a Debate Interview.

By pitching a key Marketer against a star Engineer from his company, I will decide who’s best for the job of C.E.O.

Marketing: I bring business into this company.
Engineering: I produce products for this company.

Marketing: Well, without me your product is worthless.
Engineering: Well, without me you have nothing to sell.

Marketing: Sales bring revenue. Revenue pays your salary.
Engineering: Not true. No product no sales.

Marketing: Your productions consume costs. Only sales can offset it.
Engineering: It's your commissions that cost most!

Marketing: Your product is a junk. I convince our customers to buy it.
Engineering: Well, without our product, you have nothing to convince people.

Marketing: Without us, you’ll know nothing about the customers’ needs and wants.
Engineering: Without us, customers can only dream about their needs and wants.

Marketing: You’re limiting the product’s potential by being pessimistic.
Engineering: Your optimism only brings pie in the skies.

Marketing: You’re all research and no output.
Engineering: You’re all talk and no can do.

Marketing: You lack style.
Engineering: You lack substance.

Marketing: You’re a nerd.
Engineering: You’re a fag..

Me: All right there. Thank you guys. It seems both of you need one another to function properly. You’re too dependent to assume the ultimate decision making role.

Therefore I decided to appoint someone else.

This guy...The board will love him so much, he’ll get increasing vote of confidence every time the board meeting is held.

He has a great attention to details, and considers every cent a life-saving fortune. He knows how exactly to maximize outputs by minimizing resource.

He doesn’t need to know how stuff works but can still improve the bottom-line. He can bring us the next iconic achievements. If we need our own Great pyramid of Gyza, he is our Pharaoh.

He’s so powerful, even higher level managers beg him at times. He’s so important that you didn’t question any of his directives before, and so popular that you would meet him face to face even for a microscopic matter.

He’s so occupied that you need to bring a 10,000 page document to tell him you’re not wasting his time.

He has strong principles, highly resourceful, and influential at any level. The board loves him. You enslave yourselves to him.

Yes, he’s from ACCOUNTING.

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In my opinion best CEO or Engineers who are engaged in Manufacturing only.
If they default in Prod. marketeers cant keep promises and loose business.

Engineers tend to make better CEO initially. They are great for starting companies because they know what they are doing. However, once a company reaches a certain size, it becomes necessary to hire a liar oops, I meant marketer, to sell the product. The engineer should retire and let the marketing machine take over.

Maybe a jack of all trade will be a better CEO =D? Who knows...

Cheap Hosting, as they're engaged in manufacturing only, for sure they can find a lot of customers - in the production plant.

Book Calendar, yes, after a while, the engineers should let the marketers take over all the credits.

MarketingDeviant, exactly. Hence the person from Accounting is the best candidate.

Isn't a marketer a jack of all trades? They need to know the product, how it manufactured, the process and every little detail for negotiating and advertising. They have to understand a lot of different procedures so they can talk to their clients and represent the company.

Salient points there, but obviously Mr. Ghosn and some commenters here didn't agree.

I believe that's because these people have engineering backgrounds- which explains the eternal feud between marketers and engineers.

It will cause a lot of tense in the organization if either of them (marketers and engineers) lead.

That's why Accounting people will do well here. They're the root of all tensions, so at least employees are used to the tough time they're going to face.

Agree with Mr.Marketing. Agree with Mr.Engineer too. But I hate 'Mr.Account'. More justification, worse acceptance. Not from customers, but from that CEO. Convincing without figure is wastage of effort for them!

Maybe because of that, we tend to hate our CEO-that are from the account background..duh!

P/S : Good job Zedd!

for me all I ask from people I hire is common sense ...

short in supply though ...

P/S I dressed up like the guy you hired for a party few years back and I was very popular then ... so you have a point there :-)

@lienz, do not hate the Accounting people. Like pharaoh, they love torturing their prisoners. Don't get caught or you'll loose your claims.

BizGiftGuru, the word 'common sense' is in fact a highly-estranged, seriously-technical jargon in the corporate world, it is so hard to comprehend that we see no application at all. Sadly, they can comprehend cost benefit analysis, risk reward trade-off and average weighted score more.

huwaaa 'antiknya' CEO baru! hehe. btw, sorry ye zedd, jarang2 bleh jenguk sini. sangat bizi sem ni.

zedd! i'm coming. hehe. :D

Welcome back Ayumi. Well..there are times where blogging is too punishing for our schedule. Moreover when we write for free...

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