Marks & Spencer has won the MORI / PA Consulting Group's Sundridge Park Management Centre 'Quality of Management Award'. The award is given to the British company which Britain's captains of industry, city institutions and business journalists perceive as having the most impressive quality of management for future development, according to MORI survey findings.
Second prize goes to British Airways (up from third place last year) and third prize to Glaxo Wellcome, who came second in 1996. All three were contenders for the Quality of Governance Award, which was won by Marks & Spencer for the second time running.
The winners form part of the portfolio of the top performing companies. Investment in top quality managed companies also indicates financial performance strengths. In fact, the portfolio of the top performing companies significantly out-performs on traditional financial measures such as returns on operating cash (70% higher) and market value (60% higher), all in relation to investor capital. The awards will be announced by Sir George Russell, Chairman of 3i, at a press conference on Monday 17 March at the Institute for Civil Engineers. Sir Richard Greenbury, Chairman of Marks & Spencer, will accept the top award and Robert Ayling, Managing Director of BA, will accept on behalf of BA and other speakers will include Roger Stubbs, Chairman of MORI Financial, Gavin Barrett, Acting Head of PA Consulting Group's Sundridge Park Management Centre, and Geoff Smith, an independent consultant.
Commenting on the awards, Roger Stubbs, Chairman of MORI Financial says "One of the characteristics of these awards is the consistency which is shown through the years. It is encouraging that the right formula, if there is one, for company success four years ago is very much the same as it is today."
There is a consensus among the three audiences surveyed on the top elements of good management: strategic thinking, leadership, general management skills and positive culture prevail. Beyond this, the elements of management which the winners excel in, depends on the type of business they are in. Marks & Spencer is highly rated for brand management. British Airways is particularly strong in people management and Glaxo Wellcome excels in research & development.
Among the audiences surveyed there are also some differences in emphasis on what is deemed important for sustainable growth. Institutional investors place particular stress on strategic thinking and investment planning which is precisely what their focus is. Business journalists are looking for innovation, research and development while the insiders, captains of industry, are more concerned with the process than the outcome. They tend to place more importance on team development, and to a lesser extent, the use of technology, and exceeding customer expectations.
Gavin Barrett, a director of co-sponsor PA Consulting Group's Sundridge Park Management Centre, highlighting the cause and consequences of the 1996 awards says, "The awards, as we envisaged them in 1993, were designed to focus on those management actions and priorities most likely to influence the performance of a company in the longer term for shareholder value. I believe that still to be extremely valuable. We do believe, however, that a number of criteria that really make the difference have not yet received the priority attention in management that they should."
As a further development this year, with a view to enhancing the quality of management Sir George Russell sums up the importance of the awards to British business when he says, "The focus of the awards is on sustainable creation of shareholder value, arguably the largest piece of unfinished business in UK plc! ... It's focus on the future reminds us that most analyses of business performance are retrospective and, therefore, no guarantee of future performance. Given that almost every enterprise is facing larger scale and accelerating rates of change, the criteria used in the awards to determine future success, have an urgency and relevance which we ignore at our peril."
PA Consulting Group's Sundridge Park Management Centre is one of the world's leading providers of Corporate and Executive Development.
MORI interviewed 131 institutional investors in June and July 1996 and 86 Captains of Industry (Chairmen, Chief Executives or Board Directors) from the FT Top 500 companies between October and December 1996. The survey of 35 business and financial journalists was conducted between June and July 1996.