Executive Appointments and Disappointments
by John Colvin, Jusine Turnbull and Mark Blair

ISBN: 9781876604202 Publisher: Australian Institute of Company Directors (2013)
Reviewed by: Julie Garland McLellan*

There are few things that impact a company as profoundly as the appointment of a new CEO; it is without doubt the single most important decision a board makes. So why do so many boards get it wrong and end up in costly, distracting and embarrassing litigation with the person they believed was going to be their strongest ally?

This new book from the team at the Australian Institute of Company Directors doesn't answer that question but it does set out some clear ideas that might, if implemented, make it moot.

The book is mercifully brief and starts from board practice rather than the law which gives it a useful and action oriented tone. It is obvious from the outset that this s an authoritative text written by experts but that does not detract from its simple language and clear articulation.

The material is broken into logical segments and the short sections make it a pleasure to read when travelling as constant interruptions don't require continual rereading to reorient the reader. The editing is slightly terse and manages to combine the voices of the three (very different) personalities who wrote the book into a single style which is winsome and engaging.

A clear path through the minefield to successful contracting of a new CEO is comprehensively mapped and some case studies illustrate the concepts. The layout is text-book in its feel with plenty of restful white space and a comfortable font size. Use of colour helps to break up the material and identify the different sections so the brain can rest and absorb; and there is plenty of absorbing to do!

As with most Australian Institute of Company Directors' publications this book is practical and well produced and not widely available. An Amazon listing would help to bring the book to the audience it deserves. Institute members and a few lucky Googlers will find it in the Institute bookstore.

Visit the Australian Institute of Company Director's website to purchase a copy.

An e-version is available but has not yet been reviewed.

* Julie Garland McLellan is a professional non-executive director, board and governance consultant and mentor. She is the author of  "Dilemmas, Dilemmas: Practical Case Studies for Company Directors",  Dilemmas, Dilemmas II: More Practical Case Studies for Company Directors (Volume 2),  "The Director's Dilemma",  "Presenting to Boards",  "All Above Board: Great Governance for the Government Sector" and numerous articles on corporate strategy and governance.