There’s another bit of news that I want to highlight - but it's about French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen in today’s The New Straits Times (March 31, 2009, p B12) that is worth sitting up and taking notice. Their board has fired chief executive Christian Streiff on Sunday (i.e. March 29). “The board unanimously judged that the exceptional difficulties faced by the auto industry imposed a change in management,” chairman Thierry Peugeot said in a statement. The decision came after Peugeot last month posted a €343 million net loss and said it expected to stay in the red until 2010. Now, that’s accountability.
Streiff himself was parachuted into Peugeot in 2006 from Airbus, where he had been CEO for only 100 days before his ouster. Streiff had been lambasted in the French press for announcing 3000 layoffs right after the French government gave the company three billion euros. He also caught a lot of heat from the government and the media for importing Peugeots manufactured in the Czech Republic for sale in France. And, he was hospitalized from the end of May until July, leading some industry analysts to question the condition of his health.
Nonetheless, Streiff quickly defended his tenure at Peugeot after his firing, saying that policies he had put into place at Peugeot had left the company well-prepared to cope with the economic downturn. He mentioned that under his leadership, Peugeot had introduced popular new models, initiated cost-cutting and effective inventory controls. “The economic and financial community hailed these results. Thus I cannot understand the board’s decision,” he added.
But as Brendan Moore who filed this same news report on March 29 (Webpage http://www.autosavant.com/2009/03/29/peugeot-citroen-fires-their-ceo/) said, Streiff’s opinion matters for nothing in this process; instead the important opinion is the one the board holds, and the board lost confidence in him, and just like a lot of other senior auto industry executives, Streiff has lost his job in this unforgiving market environment.
Catherine Pulsifer (from Good-bye Manager, Hello Coach!) had preached: "Employers today are looking to their leaders to think more strategically. No longer is it acceptable to focus on the day to day issues. The team is accountable for the day to day decisions". And Stephen Covey is right too when he said: "Accountability breeds response-ability". So HICT's management must get their act together...fast and furious, to quote a popular movie title.