UK: Asda/Wal-Mart boss Leighton heads off to "follow his bliss…"
Sceptics reminded onlookers that his successor, David Ferguson, was in attendance, perhaps to keep tabs on Leighton, who explained that his decision to "go plural" meant just that - he will be involved with six or seven companies that together will amount to a full-time job. Or probably, knowing Leighton's capacity for work, several full-time jobs.
Expounding on the typical career path, Leighton divided an employee trajectory into three phases; starting out, sorting out and getting out. When workers first enter employment, it will take them three to five years to find out what they want to do. Moving into phase two, employees hone their skill set and assess their capabilities, and then either move through an organisation or redirect their energies into a new field and build up a career there. Finally, the next stage is to get out. Typically, this has meant retiring, and Leighton feels that's rather sad, for after all, "We only ever live one life." Getting out and doing a variety of things while still young enough to make a weighty contribution makes far more sense, in his view.
He teased the audience with the news that he would reveal within the next two or three weeks what his personal plans are, although it emerged soon after that they involve a non-executive chairman of Internet retailer Lastminute.com.
He talked rather whimsically about the difficulty of reconciling "peace and pace," (combining a sense of achievement and peace of mind with challenge and a busy pace in the workplace). This suggests that his move is to some extent a bid to achieve that happy balance. We wish him well.
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