Since 1991, you have been the chief executive officer of Specialty Components Ltd (SCL), a very successful company. The company has developed a strong market position in the development, manufacturing and sale of specialty components for the electronics industry, growing rapidly on account of a good reputation in technical and after-sales service.
Rapid growth has meant that human-resources systems have lagged behind. Human-resources matters are handled by the administration and finance manager. Employees are subject to a confidentiality agreement. There have been cases of appointments being made on the grounds of technical skills without serious consideration of the person’s ability to fit into the existing team. In general, SCL’s work environment is one that supports teamwork and trust. Morale is good.
The recruitment policy is first to seek appointments from within the company at all levels below senior management. Michael Bray was externally recruited and appointed as manager of sales and marketing three months
Dr Daniel Norton is chief executive officer of the Hydro Electric Corporation of Tasmania. Before that he was secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet, deputy secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Treasury, and senior manager of corporate affairs at the Australian Wheat Board. He holds a PhD in economics and business from North Carolina State University.
AIM: You have managed Tasmania’s largest business since May 1996. What are the greatest challenges?
Norton: The challenge is to keep my eye on the ball, with 1700 employees, at the same time as being involved in determining how a part privatisation may occur. We have made major progress in reducing expenses, which are down by 4% every year for the past four years. In the past three years we have averaged $100 million in capital expenditure from internal funds, and we have significantly increased after-tax profit and paid back $250 million in debt. Hydro assets are long-term assets, built up over many years through debt financing: the corporation ha
There’s an old joke about a young bull and an old bull. Recruiters on the horns of a dilemma are not laughing. By Crispin Wood
My role is to give the team a point of view – Felipe Cortes
Youth versus experience – the age-old debate is taking on a new piquancy in management circles. The managers coming up through the ranks are better educated than many of their predecessors. They are well grounded in management theory and generic management techniques, but does that make them a proper replacement for more mature managers?
In the age of empowerment the old-style hierarchies – influenced by a generation in which many managers had been through military training – are inappropriate. Studies have shown younger managers to be more flexible, more consultative and grounded in consensus-style decision making rather than top-down decisions. The type of manager that directs and controls is no longer required. Such people are being replaced by “doers” those who are team players.
Unfortunately for the drill-sergeant types, th