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How long should a CEO stay in place?

Lessons from the world of football.

Football can teach a lot of lessons about life and business. As I write this, Tottenham Hotspur has just sacked Mauricio Pochettino as manager and replaced him with Jose Mourinho. Only six months ago, Pochettino had led Spurs to its first ever Champions League final. The club had finished second in the Premiership in 2016/17 and with a brand new, world class stadium, Pochettino was building a team which had started to be major contenders for domestic and European titles. However, with a poor start this season, such goodwill wasn’t good enough to keep him in his job. After five and a half years, Pochettino was out.

Pochettino was a positive veteran in Premier League manager terms. The era of Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, who led their clubs for decades, seems to have gone forever. The average tenure of a Premier League is little short of two years. A run of disappointing results will inevitably be the death knell of a manager.