There is something viscerally thrilling about the return of Succession to our screens. Whether it is the venal backbiting, the elaborate corporate power-plays, or simply the fact that the myriad troubled characters at the heart of the Roy empire speak to each other like we’d sometimes like to speak to our colleagues, there is something gloriously indulgent about the whole thing.
In the real world of global business, of course, life tends to be a tad tamer. Few FTSE 100 CEOs, so far as we aware, have been the subject of a rap tribute at their birthday (do get in touch if you have video), nor have many of their children bought the wrong Scottish football club as a present. But all that being said, there are some lessons to be learned.
The first – the value of good corporate governance. Founders, in particular, need to bear in mind that there comes a point when a vice-like grip on a company is no longer feasible.
Whether THG’s Matthew Moulding learnt his lesson from last week’s share collapse or Succession’s Logan Roy’s battle to survive at the top of the firm he founded is irrelevant – but his decision to give up his golden share looks a smart play, with shares rebounding 20 per cent after last week’s collapse.
The second is the value of a trusted ear. Logan’s problems began when he cut loose his closest confidants. Can Nick Clegg serve the same role to Mark Zuckerberg? The tech giant is swiftly approaching ‘embattled’ territory, and a wise word looks increasingly necessary.
And the third, which nobody in the Roy family ever seems to remember, is that in business there’s no harm in being pleasant.
Nigel Wilson at Legal & General is among the most well-respected, and indeed nicest, men in the City. Let’s hope he doesn’t take it too personally that last year there were 1,499 Logans born in the UK – but not a single Nigel.