Friday, 14 April 2006

Who has the better CEO?

It is looking like Gartner has the upper hand when it comes to the CEO position. It is not that Forrester's George Colony, IDC's Kirk Campbell or AMR's Tony Frisca are not smart and capable. But Gartner's Gene Hall is smarter, tougher, more aggressive and making many of the right moves to accelerate Gartner's revenue growth and increase market influence. Even his benign neglect of the vendor client base makes sense, even if the vendors hate it.

The jury is still out on Yankee Group's new CEO Emily Nagle Green.

17 comments:

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

Wow - if Gartner or Forrester had posted such a note with no analysis or justification you would be all over it. Can you add a bit more analysis on why you are coming to the conclusion? Thanks!

Silicon Valley Guy said...

It's my subjective opinion. Vinnie, while you often provide analysis and justification, sometimes you just lay out your opinion without facts or justification either.

ARonaut said...

What would be your pick Vinnie? Subjectively :-)

Anonymous said...

Great analysis...you should go work for Aberdeen!

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

I have not met Gene or the others - I have met Tony and like him. So subjectviely he would be my pick

SVG - nothing wrong with opinions =)
but I would still like to hear why...if you are inclined..

Silicon Valley Guy said...

So, Vinnie, do you have any justification besides the fact that you met Tony once? ;->

Silicon Valley Guy said...

Really quickly...

Smarter --

a) Realized that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the end-user market is not saturated with plenty of growth opportunity
b) Concluded that the vendor market did not have the upside and should be ignored for investment
c) Recognized that his predecessors had hurt Gartner’s ability to grow by cutting back Gartner Sales and the need to invest in Sales
d) Recognized that staff morale had been seriously damaged by his predecessors, and restored bonuses and cut pays even though Wall Street would punish the stock

Aggressiveness --

a) Gene Hall snatched META from Yankee Group. Overpaid but was strategically smart because it prevented Yankee (backed by Monitor Clipper Partners) from building a real competitor to Gartner. This killed Yankee’s plans leading to MCP dumping Yankee and the CEO getting fired.
b) In 2005, Gartner incrementally added 110+ sales reps to its sales force (including 84 experienced META analysts with good contacts) versus 34 by Forrester and 20 (? not sure) by IDC. In 2006, Garner is hiring about 10 sales reps per month.

Tougher –

a) The META acquisition
b) Making tough decisions even though Wall Street would hate it – stock price went down 32% after META acquisitions and Hall’s investor calls telling them he was investing in Sales and staff bonuses. Since that low point, stock has gone up 55%
c) Firing Gartner personnel, including senior analysts, after the META acquisition to send a message that underperformers will not be tolerated
d) Going after Forrester’s and IDC’s market niches with new products to keep them on the defensive

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

darn, you should be an analyst -) nah, better to be a blogger!

Good points about Gene, but I would say work in progress

Gartner's SG&A is still out of control (almost 50c of every dollar). I also am not convinced their end user penetration has improved much. I deal with CIOs on a consulting basis and Gartner is just one influence point any more comapred to its heyday.

And in some procurement categories they are just not that influential. TPI recently reported they are in 22bn worth of outsourcing deals. Gartner Consulting is not even in one fifth of that.

Gene has stalled research shrinkage but has not shown yet he can grow it organically consistently. As you say he significantly over paid for Meta.

So like I say work in progress....but he looks like he may turn around years of brand damage...

BTW - I want him to do well...I still have stock from 1998...shows you how smart I am!

GGkiller said...

Uhhh - you might want to take a look at Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ: EXBD) - company has been growing at 30%/yr for the last 7 years, and stock is currently at $105 - up 3x over the last 3 years (which makes Gene's oversight of a $8-$13 increase in stock appear downright wimpish.)

Guess where GG stole the "roles-based" product idea from - EXBD has been doing that for 20 years, and even in the IT space, has been thrashing GG's EXP product in the market. Go talk to CIOs in the F500 and ask who they turn to for real insight on strategy, mngt, and governance of IT - GG or EXBD.

Time to look beyond the usual GG/FORR/IDC/ and see what a real company does for its clients and its shareholders.

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

I agree with earlier post on Cropoarte Exec Board - amazing performance - have a blog on them on my site.

BTW - guys - I just realized I am the only guy in this thread who uses his real name. Am I missing something? The last person's nom de plume should give me a hint?

Silicon Valley Guy said...

I do not use my real name because my employer, a vendor, would not be pleased to know that I am commenting on the analysts and their practices. Many executives at large and small vendors fear retaliation by the analysts if the vendor criticizes the analysts.

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

SVG - read my blog titled Phantom of the Blog at

http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/2006/04/the_phantom_of_.html

The guy in Iran has reason to be fearful. not us sitting in the west.

If it helps, I will be happy to lobby your CEO (send me an email direct) Blogs are a healthy aspect of communications between customers, investors, analysts - different stakeholders. There is a best seller out there called Naked Conversations written by a Microsoft blogger - Transparency is the key word of our times...

ARonaut said...

C'mon Vinnie, you're all too serious. Using noms de plumme allows us to take the Mickey out of some analysts who have egos larger than themselves and mock the Borg.

It's meant to be tongue in cheek, so sit back and relax...

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

aronaut - that's disappointing...count me out from future conversations. I am an investor and an alum of Gartner. I think they could be a lot better but I am not sure "mocking" is the way to improve them or the state of vendor/ analyst relations...cheers

ARonaut said...

Some posts are meant to be humourous, other try to contribute to the debate. Take them as they are. And there several contributors to this blog, each with a a different take on things.

theARpro said...

In other news today, Vinnie Mirchandani has offered to lobby President Bush over the case of Wenyi Wang, a Falun Gong journalist who has been charged with threatening Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday while he met with President Bush at the White House. Wang faces six months in prison and a fine of $5,000 after telling Hu "Anything you have done will come back to you in this life." Mirchandani said has announced himself happy to directly lobby on the behalf of those who feel their right to speak freely has been curtailed. The business leader explained that "A dissident in Iran has reason to be fearful, not us sitting in the West."

Vinnie Mirchandani said...

I already did on my blog...seriously compared to her what do we have to worry about?

I have made my point. You have reasons to stay behind the mask. More impotant things for all of us to focus on..