Brexit and the world of Interim
Like many, I thought remaining in Europe stood to be a fairly predictable outcome although it seems that there is more of an appetite for change than I had expected, with people clearly unwilling to accept the status quo.
Some opinion polls display a growing trend in favour of exiting, which does provoke some questions. By insisting on a referendum, we have taken the decision away from the politicians – is that a good or a bad thing? We placed it in the hands of the electorate, many of whom have an axe to grind against Europe for not necessarily wholly understood reasons.
As the UK masses try and drag us towards more expensive European flights, travel visas, trade tariffs and call-roaming costs, there will undoubtedly be a benefit to the community of professional interim managers. Every cloud… Let’s face it, someone will need to project manage the disestablishment of our forty-year EU membership, our departure from the world stage and firefight the disruption to international trade with some clever strategy.
While initially deemed a highly unlikely outcome, it would be unwise not to at least start preparing for what could be the largest engagement of transformation projects, affecting every industry, every bank and every household.
At present, much of UK’s commercial, operational, political and financial infrastructures is woven into the EU tapestry. This would need to be unpicked thread by thread, which will of course have a significant effect on the commercial and corporate landscapes. Multinational organisations won’t necessarily withdraw from Europe, however they might withdraw from the UK as concerns are raised around the European trade duties likely to be imposed on the UK. This could bring requirements for carve-out specialists and those with disposals/corporate finance/strategy experience. Furthermore, every multinational business in the UK will begin assessing its position around relocation, restructure, resource planning, re-strategizing and contemplating the costs of trade with Europe – so plenty of operational change to consider and implement. Invariably, these projects would be populated with interim subject matter experts, drafted in to define, design and implement change of historic proportions.
Therefore, potentially exciting times to come if you are a senior interim currently enjoying (as many are) that pre-referendum lull. Whilst we have not even voted yet, there is a large possibility that you needn’t be on the bench for very long.
Richard Lindsay is the Principal for TMT at Interim Partners.