Leading Big Businesses: An assessment of differing leadership styles
Very large organizations are usually shaped by the style of leadership imposed by the CEO. Structures and cultures vary according to the person at the very top of a company. Some CEOs thrive when working in one area of the economy but then fail in others, unable to adapt. Others, typically those leading a group of companies, have found success by concentrating on company culture, granting power to those lower in the hierarchy to take meaningful decisions.
Meanwhile, other CEOs run their businesses according to harsh financial reality - Mike Ashley being a well-known example - due to highly competitive market environments.
- Characterized by his uncompromising business style, Ashley seeks to reduce costs where ever possible.
- A flamboyant, risk-taking businessman, Branson has predicated the Virgin brand on his own image, frequently undertaking high-profile record attempts (such as the ill-fated effort to co-pilot the first hot air balloon to traverse the globe) to promote the brand.
- When Amazon was created in 1994 the concept of internet shopping becoming commonplace remained distant. Founder Jeff Bezos gained enormously from being an early adopter of new technology, propelling a lowly online book retailer to one of the most successful and commercially influential retailers in the world.
Reasons to buy
- Examines differing styles of leadership in large businesses
- Looks at how brand image is created
- Analyzes the role of structure on the fortunes of companies
- Assesses the difficulties of managing businesses in new markets
- Examines how company culture reflects that of the leadership
- How do leadership styles differ?
- How does company culture change according to leadership style?
- How does a hands-off style influence a company?
- Can a hand-on approach work in a group of businesses?
- Mike Ashley built a retail empire through aggressive purchasing and sales
- Sports Direct thrived on low prices and buying out struggling brands
- Aggressive low-cost strategy pursued at expense of brand perception
- Recent high-street purchases continue trend of buying struggling brands
- House of Fraser takeover reveals how aggressively Ashley is happy to play his hand
- Ashley is wasting little time in getting to work on troubled cycling retailer Evans Cycles
- Richard Branson hands-off style built Virgin into international brand
- Treating each brand as a stand-alone business helped to build Virgin group
- Branson not only sells goods and services, but the Virgin name too
- Branson has constructed a desirable brand image by employing enterprising leadership style
- Jeff Bezos built Amazon in his own image, propelling it to global powerhouse
- Bezos has created a business model able to expand into new revenue streams
- Long-term perspective limits Bezos to doing what he does best
- Management structure enables Amazon juggernaut to progress
- Eddie Lampert has been blamed for decline of Sears through poor leadership
- Hedge fund management style failed at Sears, continuing a trend of retail failures
- Centralized style of Lampert caused problems at ESL Investments but also allowed it to thrive
- AutoNation and AutoZone were transformed in value when ESL Investments became major shareholders
- Mike Ashley has become a major retail player thanks to ability to find value where rivals struggle
- Culture instigated by Richard Branson at Virgin allows the group to maintain its core identity
- Jeff Bezos style of leadership allowed Amazon to become a global business superstar
- An intense style of leadership helped Eddie Lampert succeed in hedge funds, but the same approach failed in retail
- Further Reading
- Ask the analyst
- About MarketLine
- List of Figures
- Figure 1: Sports Direct revenue 2009 to 2018 (£bn)
- Figure 2: Sports Direct protest, 2016
- Figure 3: Debenhams plc net income, 2010 to 2017 (£m)
- Figure 4: House of Fraser store
- Figure 5: Virgin Group
- Figure 6: Virgin Media
- Figure 7: Virgin Atlantic Challenger II
- Figure 8: Amazon revenues 2009-2017 ($bn)
- Figure 9: Jeff Bezos
- Figure 10: Sears Holdings Corporation revenue 2005 to 2017 ($bn)
- Figure 11: Eddie Lampert
- Figure 12: AutoZone