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Who will succeed Gary Turner as Xero MD?

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Richard Sergeant has fun musing who could be the next MD of Xero.

24th Aug 2021
Director Principle Point
Columnist
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It’s the time of staycations and quarantine hotels, so to help pass the time of day and to keep the brain ticking over it’s time to review the more outlandish options for who might replace Gary Turner at Xero.

One’s attempt at recruitment during the late 1990s was short-lived, and perhaps the following may provide some useful insight as to why. However, a subsequent career in business and attempting to hire quality staff illustrated the need to think both laterally and occasionally creatively.

J.A.R.V.I.S.: AI system to Stark Industries (Iron Man)

A big business requires a big brain, well connected internally and externally, ruthlessly organised and capable of firing off the odd missile when required. J.A.R.V.I.S the AI at the heart of Avenger Tony Stark’s empire would surely fit the bill.

Xero’s developments with machine learning have been well documented, as were the all too real experiments of uploading Gary’s consciousness to the Gary Cam Bot so perhaps closer to reality than meets the eye.

Rhianna Fenty: Entertainer and entrepreneur

Not only immensely talented and well known to devoted followers, she also has an incredible business sense which has allowed her to be valued at some £1.2bn. Making her the second wealthiest female entertainer in the world behind Oprah. 

The reasoning here is twofold. Firstly, her profile and business acumen combine in a highly effective way, but she also has the potential to elevate the already overblown Xerocon into something of truly epic proportions. Fenty could bring stagecraft, entertainment, and perhaps collaborate with her lingerie brand to revamp the standard Xero delegate t-shirt.

Locutus of Borg: Star Trek 

If J.A.R.V.I.S. is talented and humanised, perhaps the other option is to just assimilate and be done with it. Star Trek has already predicted many technological advances, and provided the inspiration for many technology leaders so why not a new model of corporate acceptance. 

The Borg as the arch baddies of the Next Generation have come under too much bad press in my view. Wanting to connect systems across the galaxy, bringing formality and uniformity, and uniting under a ‘strong brand’ sounds very Xero already. And who knows, perhaps indulging in a bit of planetary dominance is just the ticket to push things on in a post-Gary universe.

Locutus was the name given to Captain Picard after his own assimilation, proving that even the Borg need a human face for people to identify with.

George Osborne: Man with portfolio 

Well if Nick Clegg can make it with Facebook surely a former Chancellor of the Exchequer could have a stab at accounting software? Insiders like Nick Levine suggest his internal influence in the corridors of power could bring dividends to shareholders, helping to influence policy and maybe the inside edge on the future of MTD. 

His stint at the London Evening Standard proves he has the necessary eye for communicating out to the punters (a very Turneresque quality). And his roles in investment banking and of course chair of the board of trustees at the British Museum should mean popping on a t-shirt and jacket once a week is very doable.

The MVP College: Former Xero MVP winners

If the future is in the hands of the accountant, as we all know to be true, then why not just give Xero over to those they cherish most? Somehow the grand gesture of handing ownership to their customers might be a tad out of keeping with events (circa US$680m to be exact). However, there are some truly talented professionals who Xero itself has recognised. 

The list of Most Valued Professional (MVP), not to be confused with Minimum Viable Product (MVP), is the highest award in accounting/Xero firmament. An enviable list that includes Cheryl Sharp, Mark Telford, Alex Falcon Huerta, Stuart Hurst, Jonathan Bareham, and Sharon Pocock. Progressives, Xero loving, and active members of the profession – finally, accountants at the heart of a software business. Viva La Revolution!

Duane Jackson: Entrepreneur and foil

An outsider with an outside chance, Duane has proved himself to be more than a match for the mighty Turner over the years. The early cloud day accounting Twitter feed fizzed with the rapiers of their duels. With both Kashflow and Staffology under his belt, he has sufficient form, but is he too much of a maverick for the increasing corporate beast? 

Well, perhaps he has mellowed in the last few years, as he now sits as a confirmed member of the Iris establishment. Surely a cover, biding his time, and waiting for Gary to take a bow stage right?

But quite possibly, it won’t be any of these. It might even be you they are looking for? At the time of press, the CEO role was still being advertised and the race very much on.

I’m afraid the salary is undisclosed, but surely the chance to fill the chair would be worth it in itself. Please feel free to make your own recommendations, I shall, of course, split the finders fee with you.

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