The famous journalist James Cameron once wrote that each day as he sat at his typewriter he thought: ‘Today is the day they are going to find me out.’ He needn’t have worried, not just because he was a talented writer but also because apparently we all feel that way a lot of the time.
One person who I’ve always felt had more need than most to feel that way is Adam Crozier. He is one of the many people I’ve picked up as an irritant like a hedgehog acquires fleas. I first became aware of him in 2000 when he joined the FA as Chief Executive (a friend of mine knew him slightly). Since then I’ve followed his career with growing incredulity. His CV runs something like this:
1995 Joint CEO Saatchi and Saatchi – Joined in the wake of the departure of the eponymous brothers overseeing a period of turmoil for the agency.
2000 CEO Football Association – Oversaw the Wembley debacle, the National Football Centre Debacle and the reorganisation of the FA that has been oh so progressive for the game in this country.
2003 CEO Royal Mail – Did actually return a profit in one of the years he was in charge but only by ignoring Ofcom targets. Sold off hundreds of Post Offices, alienating customers as he did, returned the business to losses, presided over two major strikes.
2010 CEO ITV – We’ve yet to see. But I think given the state of the advertising market and Crozier’s own propensity to wind up his own staff, it might not end well.
Now you could argue that each of those jobs represented a poisoned chalice to some degree or other, but you could also argue that this is what happens when your going rate is £3million a year or whatever. You could also argue that not one of those organisations was in a stronger position post Crozier than it was pre. And you’d be right about that. No question.
So why does he keep getting hired? Maybe it’s because in each case he actually made things better than they might otherwise have been? Maybe because he doesn’t mind being the figurehead for difficult changes? Maybe because he’s got that look that people seem to find so appealing in our politicians nowadays? Or maybe he just comes across in the right way?