WEAK AT THE TOP: John Weak's Diary

MT's resident cavemanager John Weak spends his first week at the top demanding a Porsche, arguing with the CEO and getting savaged by a woman.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013


First meeting of first day and I lose my rag with the human resources director. I want to talk company cars, he wants to talk company culture - communication, team playing, coaching - usual bollocks. Let him talk for a good minute until he said Mondeo. Spelt it out for him. I don't have my Porsche, he doesn't have his job. He jibbered for a while and had some sort of minor nervous breakdown. Not very supportive on my part, but first day in a new job and you've got to show who's boss.

I'm from the Brian Clough school of coaching.


First big team meeting went extremely well. I talked through most of it and everyone very impressed and quiet. Obviously not used to strongly held views, powerfully expressed. It was final meeting on major business re-engineering project. Told them their initial thinking was poor and they'd have to start again. Some woman - project director I think; can't remember her name - tried to make a fuss about all the hard work etc.

Quite a shrill voice, so I had to shout over her. You've got to put your foot down.


Have decided office needs redecorating. Good for staff morale. Called in the office manager, Mrs Tooley (General Pinochet in knickers). Told her to start with my office and get some quotes for knocking down the intervening wall with Ken Carmichael, research director. She started bleating about 'open plan' and asking foolish questions. No point delegating if people don't do as they're told. Suddenly remembered I haven't sacked Carmichael yet. Probably best to do that before I have his office.

Had to take emergency phone call from CEO Marcus Rigby, asking where the business re-engineering project was. Told him we were doing a major rethink - I wanted to get personally involved, new broom, new thinking etc. He said if he didn't get it tomorrow, he would be doing major rethink.

Not sure I like his style - unbelievably arrogant. I told him we'd work through the night and he'd have it first thing. Kind of challenge we love, etc. Called project team and told them to work through the night.


First proper lunch of the week with Bill Peters from chemicals. He can polish off a bottle of red before you've got the skin off a Guinness.

Got back at four and found crowd of teenagers waiting since two for their induction talk. Talked to them for a couple of hours. If that doesn't induce them, nothing will. Hayley (secretary) kept interrupting to say I was supposed to be somewhere else. But you've got to give time to youngsters.

They're the future. Although with this lot, the future better not come too quickly. Called Giles Renton-Willets (the HR director) again about Porsche. Says he will facilitate it in board meeting tomorrow. I said sod the facilitation, just make sure it's parked outside board meeting.

Probably not culturally sound. Must be more careful after lunches with Bill. Went to the gym with Howard. Got quite cold standing outside having a fag. Must give up the gym.


Have been savaged by a woman. Just getting into my stride at board meeting and she pipes up asking what the point is. I told her I can make points without her help, thank you very much. Didn't faze her. Scary looking woman. (Found out afterward she's Clare O'Keefe, operations director).

IT director Gavin Smedley made a dull presentation about integrated systems and internet protocol. Might just as well have been talking Serbo-Croat.

Told him I just wanted a computer on my desk that worked. (NOTE: Must ask Hayley how to switch on computer.) The board ganged up on me and lectured me on car allowances. Turns out that Smedley runs the car purchasing committee. Ladas all round then. Just before we finished, Ken Carmichael asked about restructuring. Bit embarrassing. Told him we had to be flexible, responsive, etc. He didn't seem very happy. Probably best if he goes.

Can't have unhappy people on board.

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