A Reflection On The Ouster of Jo, and The New Leadership of MTV
By Ajibola Aries
This is a little more than a year after the former CEO of Mytrafficvalue (MTV) and Paidverts (PV), Richard Matthew John O’neil (otherwise called Jo) was suddenly replaced by Marc de Koning. I was one of the many stakeholders who, with anxiety, witnessed the massive decline in the company’s fortunes in the months before this change of management, but I admit that up till about a week before the takeover, I did not know that a change in leadership was in the offing. Thus, to me the change in leadership was hardly different from a ‘corporate coup’. This brief analysis represents the very first time that I would be openly judgemental about these events and the major actors in it.
The main reasons behind the takeover was the alleged mismanagement of the affairs of MTV/PV under the former leadership, the personal leadership style of Jo, the stain on the reputation of Jo due to past scams linked to his name, and the attendant adverse effects Jo’s controversial reputation continued to have on the image of MTV/PV.
Initially I was skeptical of the new leadership; fearing that the new man at the helms of affairs would not be able to redeem MTV/PV’s fortunes after such long period of apparent mismanagement. And so while so many people were quick to post praises of the new CEO in different forums, I kept mute all along and had been merely an observer.
However, by this time I can say that I have patiently observed the new CEO sufficiently as to be confident enough to say that I am impressed by how Marc and the management of MTV/PV have now proven critics wrong. Instead of MTV/PV to go bankrupt and then collapse as some ill-wishers projected, it has clearly been on the rise again. Everything I see is very impressive.
I used to be an admirer of the former CEO, Jo, until the day I saw one of his Facebook remarks which he made in reaction to the recently overcome crisis of MTV/PV. He was even asking his followers to predict the date that MTV would collapse during December 2015 – with a promise of $100 to whoever guessed right, and so, many contributors began to sheepishly make predictions, picking dates which have now passed as at today. And now, this is more than a year after the series of events culminating in the ouster of Jo and the takeover by Marc De Koning; instead of people seeing a dead or dying MTV/PV, what everybody is seeing right now is a fast recovering and stronger looking MTV/PV, with a more-than-ever confident management. And Jo is now silent. Because things have obviously not been going the way he projected.
Let me take a further look at the very disappointing attitude of Jo. I am not going to begin to dabble into the rightness or otherwise of his ouster from the management of MTV/PV. But much as I admired him and appreciate his past efforts for this company, following his ouster he literally went too far in showing bad blood especially with respect to the company’s progress and fate. His statements on Facebook showed clearly that he wished for the bankcruptcy and collapse of MTV/PV. At least, from his statements, it was obvious that he was happy to see things going bad for the company. And this makes me to wonder whether the collapse of this company, if it had happened, would in any way have made him to look more innocent, especially when most close watchers could still remember that it was largely due to the problems he caused – or put more mildly, problems that arose under his watch, that led to his ouster in the first place? I personally believe that if he had not been removed, MTV would have closed down since July/August 2015. Even his statements alone (e.g. the ‘if all goes to hell’), as well as certain unguarded statements and diatribes against individual members and critics, were enough to scare away investors and other takeholders, or make many people to re-evaluate their faith in MTV/PV.
Apart from this, to me it is quite immature for a former builder of a wonderful company like this, to turn around to become an ill-wisher for the same company which he himself had once upon a time used his own hands, time, brainwork and even money to build, just because he was removed as the CEO. I am of the belief that if Jo had been more diplomatic, perhaps a deal would have been somehow struck between him and the new leadership, and he would have been re-admitted and re-absorbed, in such a way that he would be positioned to work or win his way back to the top again. For, Jo, his shortcomings notwithstanding, is such a person that if re-admitted, wouldn’t have remained an ordinary member for long: people know that he would have been more useful at the management level than anywhere lower than that. I think it is tragic that his anger in that situation prevented him from appreciating the fact that lots of people acknowledge and respect his capabilities and his vast potential to be still very useful to the company and so would likely have welcomed him back to the company (had he and the new management struck a deal at that time) if he had managed his anger better than he did. But his behavior spoilt his chances in this respect.
However, beyond Jo is the single most important fact for which we are all happy today: against all odds, MTV and PV have survived. Contrary to earlier claims by Jo that Marc was only using his ideas, I think what events have shown to us is that with respect to the use of ideas, Marc demonstrated an important sterling quality of a good business manager: retaining and building upon the good ones among existing ideas and projects, while introducing many new, original ideas and projects of his own and at the same time listening to and adopting ideas suggested by members. This is a departure from the former rather unilateral and arbitrary style of Jo. I also don’t see Marc talking harshly to people in the forum, neither does he make alarming statements that injure the mood and confidence of members. Whether we like it or not, the mood of investors and advertisers matter: Marc has shown that he understands and respects this; Jo apparently didn’t give a damn.
To move the company forward, what we need is a management that listens, understands and respects the views of all stakeholders – and it is becoming increasingly clear that we’ve already got it. Not a management that doesn’t give a damn. Not a management that is largely inaccessible to members. Not a management that reacts to constructive criticisms with personal insults and swear words. Not a corporate dictatorship.
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