Perks and pressure

Becoming the CEO of a public company means losing your company, privacy and social life. There’s some good points too. BRENDAN LEWIS

Brendan Lewis

By Brendan Lewis

The other week I talked about selecting your advisers when going public that came out of the Churchill Club program “From Kitchen Table to IPO” which we ran on 17 April.

This week I wanted to pass on the main points (as noted by me) that were made by our panel around the new skills required for a public company CEO that you better get on top of:

  1. First and foremost, check your expectations at the door. Remember that if you end up with less than 20% to 30% of your business, you may no longer actually be in control.
  2. Get good at managing your time and your life, as the CEO of a public company job layers on top of your “managing the business” job. As a corollary, get good at finding good people to delegate to and trust them to do their job.
  3. Understand that operational management is now very much focused on hitting your forecast numbers, not just simply doing your best.
  4. Good governance and good processes are now critically important. As a public company you are now much, much, much more likely to be sued.
  5. Understand Australian accounting standards. Disappointing I know, but just because you want to recognise a transaction as revenue doesn’t mean you will be allowed to.
  6. If you’re going to grow overseas, get an understanding of relevant international laws, tax and accounting standards. It’s not just Australian companies that are going to sue you.
  7. Get some media training and get good at briefing your PR agents. The market will be unforgiving if the right thing comes out the wrong way. Also remember you will now have at least 400 shareholders that will be happy to ring and give you advice on “their” company.
  8. It’s not just managing your chairman anymore, get used to managing the entire board. Handled right, the board can be of enormous benefit.
  9. Accept the fact that you have lost your privacy. Your staff and competitors now know where you live and how much you earn.
  10. Finally, understand and appreciate that you operate within a sharemarket. If you don’t understand the ethical and legal issues around directors taking out margin loans to invest in your stock in an environment of continuous disclosure, then you better get on top of it.

Apparently though, the perks outweigh the pressures.


Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded : Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.

To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here.



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