Sunil Gavaskar had once quipped that you should retire when people ask why, rather than why not. Arun Sarin seems to have followed this dictum.
Sarin took over the helm of Vodafone at a time when the telecom company was nursing several bruises. He saw it back to good health and has retired at a time when his charge is in rude health. There are lessons here for both managers and investors.
It took Sarin five years to do his trick at Vodafone. He took over when shareholders were up in arms. His initial year went in dousing fires and cutting costs. But he then put the company on stable ground. At the very end of his stint, he took a few of his own big gambles, especially the purchase of a big stake in Hutchison Essar.
What this means is that leaders need to be given time to settle down and then implement their strategy. Boards and shareholders tend to be more impatient.
Give a CEO time. And may he quit when he is ahead in the game. That’s the lesson from the Sarin resignation.