Next Generation of CEOs

November 10, 2007

Next Generation of CEOs

ist2_2404744_team_leader.jpgThe New York Times today has a front page article in the business section today on the next wave of CEOs. The article “C.E.O. Evolution Phase 3” was apparently written as a direct result of recent high profile CEO departures at major financial services companies suffering huge losses from the subprime mortgage fallout. The article’s sub-title was “After Empire Builders and Repair Experts, the Team Captain.”
I can’t help but think that this story has already been written. There seems to have been a general theme in the news media that we went from celebrity CEOs and empire builders to post-Enron custodial turnaround CEOs.  Don’t get me wrong but the Team Captain is not a new leadership theme. Our research at Weber Shandwick on Safeguarding Reputation and the research I have been conducting on CEOs for years has always found that bench strength is critical to building CEO and company reputations. I am now going to wait for the next article in the top-tier media on the Eco-CEO such as GE’s Immelt and others. It cannot be far away.

Since I do collect CEO quotes, there were a few that I highlighted to put on our reputationRX site:

“It’s someone who can assemble a team that functions as smoothly as a jazz sextet.” (USC‘s Warren Bennis)

“Both felt the need to make sure the top hundred people know that they’re in this together, that their fates are correlated.” (Referring to P&G’s CEO Lafley and Boeing’s CEO McNerney.)

“The academic research says if you want to predict what the future financial performance over the next one to three years will be, you need to know the top team.” (Wharton‘s Michael Useem)

There are so many variations on explaining the next generation of CEOs…what happened to the Tech CEO or the Consensus CEO. Is there room for an Organic CEO or Shy CEO or Spiritual CEO? What about the Safety CEO? In light of recent product recalls, privacy issues and environmental disasters, can the Safety CEO be far from view? I don’ think so. I can even name a few.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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