According to Tony Vieira in SN of June 17, and Sasenarine Singh in SN of July 4, you have to have administrative experience of GuySuCo’s factory and field operations before you can become CEO.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
GuySuCo produces sugar, the bulk of which is sold to the EU, and the rest on the world market. This means sugar of fine quality must be produced in the right quantity and on time to satisfy the contracts. The corporation reportedly has 15,000 employees, most of them working in the fields to grow and harvest sugarcane, while it is processed into sugar crystals in the factories.
So what skill-sets does one need to be CEO? Is it managing field workers, supervising the processing of sugar, having overall responsibility for all estates by interacting with each estate’s manager? What about marketing?
Messrs Vieira and Singh are focusing on the wrong set of skills and experiences needed to run a major corporation.
Lee Iacocca never worked on the factory floor, knew nothing about auto-engineering or finances ‒ he worked in Sales ‒ and was elevated to run Chrysler. He was very successful. What were his leadership skills? Iacocca read the reports, digested them well and was a good decision-maker. He had a good sense of the style and price for which the consumer would pay. Messrs Vieira and Singh would have destroyed Iacocca before he assumed the CEO position. They would have said he never designed cars or didn’t go to engineering school, or he only knew how to sell cars.
Michael Bloomberg worked at Salomon Brothers, an investment bank, got a severance settlement of a few million dollars and opened a financial data services company. Bloomberg said he begged and recruited people with various kinds of expertise, about which he knew nothing, to work for him.
Raj Singh like Iacocca or Bloomberg doesn’t have to have personal working experience or expertise in all the various operations in growing cane and processing cane juice into sugar. He has to have managerial talent, and in the case of Bloomberg, also good entrepreneurial talent. Be a good decision-maker. Hire the right people. Supervise them well.
I heard that Raj Singh will be taking up full-time residency in Guyana soon, so he can take up the day-to-day running of GuySuCo.
I happen to know Raj Singh. He can read and digest reports. He can make good decisions. He is decisive and does not drag his feet. His experience studying at US schools, living and working in the United States ‒ the exposure to corporate America ‒will stand him in good stead, as against a locally-trained candidate.