23rd Feb 2013

New CEO takes over at Legg Mason

Legg Mason Inc is one of the largest global asset management companies in the world. Joseph Sullivan has worked on and off for the company for some 19 years. Since Mark Fetting stepped down in October 2012, Sullivan has been interim chief executive. With over 30 years experience in the financial services industry, Sullivan was seen as the inside favourite for the job, and after an exhaustive search, last Wednesday he was named CEO, effective immediately.

Raymond ‘Chip’ Mason, founder and former CEO of the investment firm has praised the appointment of Sullivan who he described as “very determined to be the best.” Sullivan will certainly need to be the best. The company has been struggling for the last number of years to revive its stock price. In early 2008 the company’s assets were at about $1 trillion, while on the 31st January 2013 this had dropped to $654 billion. Sullivan has been landed with the job of steering the turnaround.

At the announcement of his new position, Sullivan outlined his plans for such. His priorities are stopping the outflow of investor money and renewing relations with its investment units.

Effective team leadership is crucial for success as a leader. Sullivan will face many challenges as he strives to guide Legg Mason through this difficult time, putting a strong team in place should be his top priority.

There are seven key ways in which Sullivan should be leading his team to ensure a successful first 100 days. He needs to be a:

Role model:

By setting high standards for himself, Sullivan’s team will follow his lead, and will strive to reach the high standards he sets.

Mission setter:

Sullivan needs to identify the common cause – the unifying mission of the team – and push to achieve it.

Recruiter:

Sullivan needs the best possible team in place for a successful first 100 days and beyond, he needs to be capable of assembling a strong team, fast.

Communicator:

Regardless of how strong his team is, if Sullivan cannot communicate effectively with them, little progress will be made.

Motivator:

To get the very best out of his team Sullivan needs to be a strong motivator.

Skills builder:

Sullivan needs to figure out who is good at what, assign tasks accordingly, and up-skill the team where necessary.

Target maker:

Sullivan will need clarity on key stakeholders and key deliverables, so that he can set clear targets and results for the end of the first 100 days.

To ensure success from the get-go, Sullivan needs to set a clear direction for his team, and deliver fast results.

Hilda Goold

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