It would take three or four months to find a new chief exec for a company like Wolseley.
So it's arguably no coincidence that it was three or four months ago Wolseley went cap in hand to investors to fund a £1bn rights issue.
“Here’s your money,” the big institutions could well have begun, “now what are we getting in return?”
The head of Chip Hornsby could well be the answer – replaced as he was “with immediate effect” this week by former Alliance UniChem boss Ian Meakins. Chairman John Whybrow has denied there was investor pressure but Wolseley isn't exaclty a "hire 'em fire 'em" type company - it has had two finance directors in something like 30 years.
Hornsby, described by one analyst as “an American but modest”, carried on the spending spree at the top of the market began by predecessor Charlie Banks that saw the building materials giant run into financial trouble earlier this year.
“A first class logistics man but a questionable strategic thinker”, was how another described him.
Either way he has left his job – a move the share price shows was broadly welcomed in City circles.
In general terms, the big institutions such as Standard Life, Schroders and Fidelity certainly appear to have more sway in times when going to your bank to raise a sum like £1bn could be a much more costly Plan B.
They have corporate governance people who specialise in the kind of tricky conversation that many think took place at Wolseley. As one analsyt explained: “They will pick up the phone to the chairman and put things in fairly diplomatic terms like: ‘We are disappointed with the company’s recent performance. Clearly it is your decision but we would expect to see some board changes to reflect our disappointment.’”
After pausing for thought, he added: “Actually they would probably use much blunter language in this day and age.”
So will others get rights issue phobia now? Afraid of what might be demanded of them in return?
“If it's obvious someone on the board was at fault for a given problem, maybe,” said one analyst.
“Take Peter Redfern at Taylor Wimpey,” they added. “It was technically the institutions who pushed for more debt in the equation as part of the Wimpey/Woodrow all-share merger in the form of a share buy-back to sweeten the deal."
They added: “Plus he’s likeable and the saying “God loves a tryer” comes to mind in his case. People can see how hard he ran around trying his hardest to get the refinancing done and he gets credit for that.”
Who’d have thought it? Pete Redfern: the Carlos Tevez of construction.