The killer quote and the retiring CEO

Tomorrow's Business

Sometimes one devastating quote can come to define an entire career, at least in the minds of the press.

Today Lesley Titcomb said she would leave The Pensions Regulator next February. She said this was a “difficult personal decision” and pointed to how much better the watchdog has become under her rule.

Her achievements were listed on the press release, and she was praised by her chairman.

I fear coverage tomorrow will focus on a quote from MP Frank Field last February, when she was being probed about the collapse of Carillion.

The committees investigating were not impressed with her testimony.

Field said: “If we had knocked into you at a bus stop we would expect you to be better informed than that.”

Ouch. Competing with MPs who have a knack, and a platform, for delivering sound bites is difficult.

I think in this instance, the unfortunate Ms Titcomb perhaps needed at some point to come back with something memorable of her own.

Chief executives who prefer not to say anything controversial find that when they retire, they get remembered as dull, even if this is an unfair reflection of what they are really like.

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