BLG Leadership Insights

Proactive Leader Series: Andy Doyle

The Proactive Leaders Series aims at finding out how leaders throughout New York are handling the current economic crisis and the strategies they are using to organize their staff and push their agendas forward.

Andrew Doyle is a Senior Vice President and Head of Compensation, Benefits, and HRIS for OppenheimerFunds, Inc. Prior to joining OppenheimerFunds, he was most recently Head of Rewards and Information Services for the Global Wealth Management Group at Merrill Lynch.  During his career at Merrill Lynch, Andy had extensive overseas experience, including being Head of HR for the Pacific Rim Region, based in Tokyo, Japan.  Prior to his 10 years with Merrill Lynch, Andy was employed with the Toshiba Corporation, based in Tokyo, where he was a core member for the formation of the International HR Planning Group.

Andy is active in the Japanese community in Bergen County and is a volunteer youth soccer coach in Glen Rock, NJ, where he resides with his wife and two children.

Andy, I know you’ve witnessed the economic turmoil over the last few months closely. What do you think this has done to peoples thinking and how it shaping their future strategies?

I think the majority of people are starting to throw their plans out the window and unfortunately, panicking a bit.  But I think there are still a few folks who are able to take a step back and think about what’s going on and realize that there may even be some opportunity in all of this and are changing or tweaking their plans rather than just throwing them out the window.

From a human resources perspective what qualities make a ‘survivor’? Who is ‘surviving’ and how has it changed the work place?

First, like in a tsunami some people are unlucky. The wrong place at the wrong time…There’s a different type of survivors guilt that I’ve never experience before. In most of the other down turns there would always be lay offs and a few folks who lose their jobs but by and large companies were culling based on performance…that’s been the standard, for 15 years on Wall St.. There was a real concerted effort to retain talent. This time around lay offs are arbitrary. Firms are being over taken by other firms and they are cutting people before they even get to know who’ve they acquired. There are a lot of talented people who are losing their jobs.

The second thing is there’s an anxiety out there that starts because the leaders and the people who were looked up to in the organization lose their jobs. So now the people who remain have to learn and figure out how to carry on without their leaders. There is a combination of survivor’s guilt and anxiety of how we’re going to go forward.

What kind of work culture do you think will emerge in the aftermath of the financial crisis? For instance, I know that after 9-11 a lot of people said the work culture downtown will change. Do you think it will now?

This was the end of the dream for some folks. A lot of people come to Wall St. for one reason–to make a lot of money. They work very very hard and make a lot of sacrifices and take a lot of risks to make a lot of money. For most of their lives, at least for the younger guys, that’s always been true.

I think in one sense there will be a return to vanilla. I think that people will go back to plain and ordinary. They will, for some folks they won’t work the 80-hour week and sacrifice things at home.  Because, what’s the point if they wont get the returns?