In the very near future the workload of the clinical director will increase dramatically with the introduction of an appraisal scheme, which clinical directors will be expected to deliver. Clinical directors may also become involved in the process of revalidation. To understand how these additional responsibilities might be met, it is instructive to review how clinical directors find their current role. Support systems and structures were reviewed. The support that clinical directors received from the trust was also assessed, with particular emphasis on the areas of appraisal, audit and governance. Seven out of the ten clinical directors agreed to be interviewed. Each was asked the same set of questions, the results of which are presented. An answer was sought to the question: is the role of clinical director bound to fail?