13. Typhoon and other storm waves
It’s not uncommon for the structure of a company’s leadership team to evolve as the company grows. The founding CEO often steps into a different role – such as CTO (Chief Technology Officer) or CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) – allowing a new CEO to steer the company through its next phase of growth.
Symbian’s first CEO, Colly Myers, doubled as the original architect and primary coder for the heart of the operating system, EPOC32. By the time Symbian was formed, Colly had stopped writing code, but he still kept track of proposed design enhancements to the kernel. He took the role of “Chair of the GT (Generic Technology) Board”, the body that evaluated priorities and progress for the parts of Symbian OS that were independent of user interface. It was clear that he particularly enjoyed that role.
Colly also had a range of other responsibilities:
- Managing relationships with Supervisory Board representatives – communicating their needs and decisions to the Operational Board
- Chief external spokesman for the company – conducting regular tours to meet analysts and the press
- Managing the different sites – since the site General Managers all reported directly to Colly
- Chief strategist
- Managing the Operational Board – setting and reviewing objectives for the leadership team.
As the company tripled in size in its first few years, the multiple demands of these different roles brought increasing pressure.
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