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How to leave a job well

When leaving a job, the chances of burning bridges are high. This is especially true for finance directors, particularly if their exit is abrupt or not planned well. Christian Doherty finds out the best way to leave a position.

Much like death and taxes, moving jobs is one of life’s certainties. Whether it is a carefully timed and planned exit or an abrupt and unexpected departure, the chances are that every financial director (FD) will reach a point when it’s time to go. Exits can be gracious and amicable, but can also leave a bad taste in the mouths of those left behind or sour your reputation in the eyes of prospective employers if handled badly.

Take Andrea Orcel, who was chosen by Santander to be its new CEO in 2018. Unbeknownst to the bank, Orcel’s contract with UBS stipulated against joining a rival. The move quickly turned ugly. UBS demanded Orcel see out his full gardening leave period while refusing to pay out his deferred bonuses of around €50m. A chastened Santander then rescinded the offer – due to the expense of having to cover the deferred awards – and Orcel responded with a lawsuit for the ‘lost’ income of €100m. Always leave them wanting more? Not quite.

So how can you ensure your departure is met with regret and best wishes, and avoid leaving noses out of joint and prospective employers wary of bringing you on board?

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 277, September 2019.

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