UK Firm Founder Plans to Give His Business Away

Today in Is It a Stunt? news, the founder of a successful UK communications firm called Global Tolerance has decided to step down “to be a full-time dad”. That’s all well and good, but his strategy for picking a replacement has earned a good bit of media attention.

In short, he’s turned it into a contest open to the public at large.

The hand-picked winner of what Simon Cohen calls an “Open Leadership Exercise” will get 95% of the 10-year-old firm—which once included the Dalai Lama among its clients—along with 10,000 pounds (not quite $17K) and “a decade of business contacts”. Cohen himself will also serve as the new boss’s mentor for a year.

We’ll let him explain:

This move comes less than a year after Cohen placed his entire company on official sabbatical.

During that period, all the agency’s staffers were laid off but “encouraged to take on Global Tolerance’s clients” as freelancers. No word on how that worked out.

As for the reasoning behind the move, Cohen has posted a full Q&A on the agency’s site and says he’ll consider any and all interested parties. The selection process will involve five steps, the first of which is a tweet explaining what “leadership” means in 129 characters or less (minus 11 for the hashtag).

Given the fact that he pitched his story to us, we assume he’s quite serious. He calls the project “…a way I can not only leave the company, but also leave a legacy for those who follow me” created, in part, to allow him to spend more time writing his first book and looking after his first child.

While we wish him the best, we can’t be quite sure that other executives will see this as a model to emulate. At any rate, get working on those leadership tweets—the deadline for application is April 15.

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