FILE - This photo combination shows from left Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Political observers in Germany and Britain see a lot of similarities between Britain’s new leader, Theresa May, and Germany’s pragmatic chancellor, Angela Merkel. Both are daughters of small-town Protestant clergymen, display caution and ca pragmatic penchant for seizing the center ground of politics, and like to relax in the kitchen alongside their camera-shy husbands. Both are no nonsense and businesslike. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Thibault Camus

The advantage of being part of a team for years, then chosen to head it, is that one has had time and a special vantage point to identify its valuable players... and its laggards.

This should mean a solid start for Theresa May, the former home secretary who on Wednesday became Britain's second female prime minister.

Hers will be the monumental task of withdrawing from the European Union, in a way that inflicts least damage on her country and its trading partners across the channel.

But, first, comes the selection of her cabinet. She has had five years to study the abilities and contributions of her fellow executives in the Cameron administration. It gives her the edge of an insider's view.

She has been in politics for more than 30 years, an MP for 19. And, she was in David Cameron's cabinet for six years. Last night she appointed her first six executives, including a new portfolio: a minister focused on the exit,

As far as experience goes, therefore, the 59-year-old is highly qualified. But her mission will be tortuous – disentangling from Europe, dismantling and rebuilding, erasing treaties and rewriting the new.

It will require this MP, who sided publicly with Cameron in voting against withdrawal, to lead the tricky way to a goal she did not want. And she is chartless in redrawing the world political map.

Apart from the complexities of severance without incurring injury, she will have to deal with some clear offence across the channel at Britain's decision. This will probably be exasperating and sapping.

Her assignment as prime minister will differ from that of most previous newcomers to No 10 Downing Street. She will not have to fulfil the usual, malleable campaign promises and speeches of hope – there has been no time for them; her primary purpose will be a fixed objective, and extracting from it the best deal for Britons.