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Hero's Farewell: What Happens When CEO's Retire

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

From interviews with prominent retired chief executives such as David Rockefeller and Tom Watson, Jr., the author describes the four major types of leadership departure styles--Monarchs, Generals, Ambassadors, and Governors--to help CEOs and their firms better prepare for changes to come.

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Book Information

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date: 04/27/2001
Pages: 336
ISBN-13: 9780195065831
ISBN-10: 0195065832
Language: English

Full Description

How a business replaces its chief executive often determines that firm's future. If a business does not effectively manage the transfer of power, utter turmoil can result, with profound implications not only for the CEO, but also for the other employees, the shareholders, and the community at large.
Filled with inside stories from corporate boardrooms and fresh conceptual perspectives, The Hero's Farewell describes in rich detail the factors that affect executive succession. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld offers the first close examination of the critical role a CEO's departure style plays in helping, or hindering, the transfer of power. Through candid interviews with fifty prominent retired chief executives from corporations such as AT&T, Ford, Dupont, United Technologies, and Raytheon (David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan and Thomas J. Watson, Jr. of IBM among them) and a survey of an additional three hundred top managers, Sonnenfeld identifies the four major types of leadership departure styles. These types include Monarchs, who choose not to leave voluntarily but either die in office or are overthrown; Generals, who leave reluctantly and spend their retirement planning a comeback; Ambassadors, who retain close ties with their former firms; and Governors, who willingly serve a limited time and leave to pursue new interests.
Capturing the human drama of these departures and succession battles, The Hero's Farewell will fascinate anyone intrigued by power struggles in large corporations. Outlining ways to smooth out the inevitable transfers of power that corporations must face, Sonnenfeld presents essential information for all top executives and especially for CEOs.

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