Monday, July 28, 2014

Hire pool

One thing that always works well is getting someone who knows nothing about your business to be Chief Executive. Look how well it turned out for Apple back in the 1980s when the Board turfed out computer nerd Steve Jobs and moved in soft drinks guy John Scully. Why the hell should the CE know about computers? It's a management job? Yes, that was a big success for everyone involved – well it was once Apple got back Steve Jobs. All this leads to the question why Te Papa's Board had decided that Michael Houlihan's replacement as CE “ be drawn from the museum world or other sources (i.e. universities, corporates, and government)”. That word ‘could’ doesn’t sound too encouraging.

So you’ve done your 10,000 hours as a senior manager in finance or run a department in the public sector or headed up one of the polytech-universities, and it's time to step up. Fortunately applying for the Te Papa CE job is very straight forward. Go to the Te Papa site and you are told to contact John Peebles Associates, head hunters based in Remuera. Now that would be fine but the Peebles website isn’t working. In fact it expired a week ago and you've got to assume that either no one has even noticed or the cheque got lost in the mail. What’s an ambitious management guy to do? Give up while you’re ahead might be a good idea.

Experience shows that Te Papa has never been much good at the job thing. Three and a half years after Heather Galbraith left the building Te Papa still hasn't managed to hire a senior art curator. Who knows whether this is because of a lack of priority, an attempt to save money or no one wants the job. Probably it's a mix of the three. So the news that the CE ‘could be drawn from the museum world or other sources’  will just further demoralise staff (the ones who haven’t already run out the door) and depress serious supporters.

Still thanks to its glacial speed and the help it's getting from John Peebles Associates, we're not going to have to worry about the new CE of Te Papa any time soon.