David Prosser: Crozier and McCall have been on easy street
Wednesday 17 November 2010
Outlook The art of good business so often comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Enter, stage left, Adam Crozier and Carolyn McCall, who both appear to have taken the top jobs at their new employers – ITV and easyJet – at the perfect moment this year.
Mr Crozier joined ITV just as the television-advertising market was moving out of its trough. Hey presto, the broadcaster's fortunes improve at his first set of results. Ms McCall has pulled off a similar trick, joining easyJet just as passenger numbers began to pick up (and fuel prices fell): she was thus able to announce a big increase in profits yesterday, as well as the company's first dividend.
Good timing is a skill in itself, but investors should not underestimate the scale of the challenges still faced by both these companies. The work is still to be done.
For ITV, the moves towards digital and pay TV announced by Mr Crozier earlier this year are necessary but will be difficult to execute successfully. At easyJet, Ms McCall talked yesterday of targeting the business market and continuing to expand the fleet. Again, sensible strategy but hard to get right (particularly with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou on the sidelines agitating for bigger dividend payments still).
Beginners' luck is a good start. However, the real test for the new bosses of ITV and easyJet is whether they can make their businesses better able to cope with both good times and bad.
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