Friday, 15 July 2011

Rebekah Brooks' resignation: timing is everything

Why are so many people are puzzled at the length of time it has taken Rebekah Brooks to resign? The delay between major organizational crisis and senior executive resignation is most frequently part of the crisis management process. The more that public and media fury can be concentrated on an individual, the more it moves away from the organization itself. Once the individual has soaked up the wrath, he or she is shunted off, leaving a rather less personal and therefore less engaging focus for public outrage in its wake. Tony Hayward soaked up a large part of the criticism for the gulf oil spill and by the time he was dispatched BP had already taken decisive concrete steps to get the recovery programme underway. Similarly, NI is now couching its communications in the past tense. “We have already done x, y and z” is now part of the narrative. I’m not saying that the worst is over – who knows? – but the timing, in my view, is all part of the reputational fightback.

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