Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

National Divisions Bar European Leaders from International Careers

Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

National Divisions Bar European Leaders from International Careers

Article excerpt

Jeff Rodek, CEO of Hyperion, tells Gemma Townley that the `Europe issue' penalises multinational firms and European high-flyers

The biggest challenge facing multinational and global companies is finding European leaders, according to the chief executive of a leading software company. In an exclusive interview with Financial Management, Jeff Rodek, CEO of Hyperion, said that the Europe issue was a "very hard nut to crack" because of the huge cultural and language barriers that make inter-European transfers difficult.

"In the US, you might have a problem transferring someone from the deep south to New York or vice versa, but in general people are very mobile," he explained. "In Europe, not only are people less willing to move but, even more problematic, you have to think carefully about which nationalities will be accepted. For instance, if you are looking for someone to head up your European operations, appointing someone who is French, English or German may not go down well with employees from the other two countries -- and probably Spain or Italy. There's a lot of resentment. Companies often end up choosing someone from a more neutral location such as Australia or Canada."

The problem is faced by companies worldwide, he argued. European cultural differences mean that companies will often have more than one European office, but leaders must be found either within the country, or flown in from much further a field. This means that European business leaders have fewer promotion opportunities.

"Nationality is an issue," Rodek said. …

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