23rd May 2013

The First 100 Days of Ashley Almanza

We all remember the security gaffe which left year’s London Olympics embarrassingly short-staffed. G4S, the company tasked with providing security for the event failed to supply enough security guards for the athletes and the general public. As military personnel were brought in to fill the gaps Nick Buckles, CEO, admitted that it was a “humiliating shambles”. This week, after 8 years in the role, Buckles has announced he will step down as CEO at the end of the month.

For a time, under Buckles’s leadership G4S thrived - it expanded to some 125 countries worldwide and shares soared. However in the last few years the company has suffered repeated embarrassments, which have shaken investor confidence and tainted Buckles’s captaincy. There was the failed takeover of Danish rival ISS, and then the Olympics fiasco. Such setbacks have left Buckles under increasing pressure.

Ashley Almanza will replace Buckles at the start of June. Almanza is a chartered accountant by training, and has been CFO of G4S since May 1st this year. Before joining G4S, Almanza held a number of senior roles at oil producer BG Group.

After considering both internal and external candidates the board decided to promote Almanza. G4S said of the appointment, “The board is extremely pleased to have attracted Ashley Almanza. He brings a wealth of experience from working across international borders in complex businesses and we are confident he will provide strong strategic and operational leadership to the group.”

G4S has more than 620,000 staff worldwide and is the largest employer on the London stock exchange. However on May 7th the company gave a disappointing first-quarter trading update and profit warning – Almanza will need to transition into his new role quickly and cleanly to make sure he makes an impact early as CEO.

The first 100 days of a new leadership role are crucial. Success in the first 100 days can be the difference between success and failure in the long term. If you have a successful first 100 days you are setting yourself up for a successful first 12 months, and so on. If we look at it from the context of an entire career, the importance of the first 100 days in a senior role appointment cannot be underestimated. Almanza’s achievements in the first 100 days will be taken as an indication of his leadership potential for the future. It is imperative that he hit the ground running and start winning back confidence in G4S from day 1 in the role.

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