Spot The Difference: Claudio Ranieri And The CEOs Being Kicked Out Of The FTSE100


Perplexing firing: Claudio Ranieri (Source: Getty)

What's the difference between Claudio Ranieri and the chief executives of the companies at the bottom of the FTSE100?

That's easy. The latter aren't Italian, don't get nicknamed the Tinkerman and haven't won trophies lately. They are also still in their jobs.

On the field, Ranieri, the manager who won international acclaim for achieving a 100-year-first with Leicester City was fired for not being consistently mediocre enough.

If Leicester had finished say 13th in the Premier League last season and managed something half similar this time, Leicester would be looking at assured Premier League television payments. Ranieri would still be tinkering with his team and entertaining journalists.

Yet he had the audacity to beat odds of 5,000-1 to win the Premier League one season and then flirt with relegation the next.

To the horror of the nation, the club's owner reacted in the traditional way.

In the other City, meanwhile, this year's first quarterly review of stock market indices has kicked out some of the companies that seem to teeter perpetually between promotion and relegation.

Yet Andy Parker and Sebastian James are still at the helm at Capita and Dixons Carphone - despite their companies ranking 111th and 119th in the current rankings by stock market capitalisation.

Parker has been at Capita since 2011 and James at Dixons since 2014. How Ranieri would have loved to have been given that long to prove that last season's success doesn't have to be a flash in the pan.

Of course, there are more differences than similarities. Many investors in stocks won't worry too much about which index they are in, though they do care deeply about the stock valuations that govern whether companies fall in or out.

CEO bonuses are not often based on which divisions they're in and they may also not mind too much about their potential demotions, apart from the negative media spotlight.

There's no parachute payment for getting relegated from the FTSE100 to 250 but there are few financial prizes for staying up either. Should their relegation be confirmed, they will lose tracker fund investors who will be obliged to shift their money.

However, few FTSE100 CEOs lose their jobs when their companies lose that status. And in recent years, it has been easier for some of the companies relegated in the quarterly reshuffles to inveigle their way back in again.

The wider point is the payments for mediocrity. It has long been argued that the front-loading of the incentives that CEOs receive on their appointments mean they stand most to gain from simply getting the jobs in the first place.

If they bumble along and achieve middle rankings, they collect when they simply pass Go in this game of corporate Monopoly. And when they get fired, they receive their famed rewards for failure.

Ranieri was well-rewarded too, of course. He knew the risks and could not have expected a lengthy tenure at one of the Premier League's regular stragglers. But his legacy is heroic outperformance with limited resources and few believing in his leadership.

How many FTSE100 CEOs can say the same? And yet he is the one out of a job.