The Hero's Farewell: What Happens When Ceos Retire

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Author Oxford University Press, USA $32.5 (336p) ISBN 978-0-19-505091-2
Little attention has been paid by the public to the crucial issue of corporate succession as the spotlight turns to a company's new chief executive while a departing one shuffles off. Sonnenfeld, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School, here outlines a typology of corporate succession that focuses on the departure styles of four different kinds of corporate leaders. He calls them: ``Monarchs,'' who do not leave voluntarily; ``Generals,'' who leave reluctantly and plot to return; ``Ambassadors,'' who leave gracefuly and retain close ties to their old firms; and ``Governors,'' who leave willingly to pursue new challenges. He probes the profound effects that each departure style has on the retiring CEO and the firm. Sonnenfeld illustrates his typology by describing the departures of some of America's greatest corporate leaders, including Edwin Land of Polaroid (a Monarch), William Paley of CBS (a General), Thomas Watson of IBM (an Ambassador), and Reginald Jones of GE (a Governor). The book is a useful analysis that illuminates a long-neglected area of management theory. (October)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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