A congressional committee demanding answers. A corporate CEO called to testify. Yet the familiarities, in this case, end jim stanford economics for everyone pdf. There were no notes before him.
There was no hint that he wasn’t personally responsible for Boeing’s actions. The committee’s response now seems unimaginable: It erupted into a standing ovation. That image, from 1956, kept popping to mind whenever someone asked me about the business meltdowns of 2001 and 2002. What, went the questions, should be done about governance? I usually declined to comment, feeling I had little to say that had not already been said. But as the Allen image lingered, I came to realize that I did have something to say. It’s just that my answer wasn’t a what answer.
When the debates over governance mechanisms and procedural reform are all said and done, one question will still tower above all others: Who should we choose to run our corporations? In the 1990s, it’s now clear, boards increasingly gave the car keys to the wrong people. Like doctors bleeding patients to death in the 1600s, the boards weren’t trying to do harm. They were simply using the wrong models. Yet where, these days, are the right models? For good reason, we’ve become cynical about CEOs.
There seem to be no heroes left standing, no one to emulate or believe in. There’s an increasingly gloomy sense that we should simply throw up our hands and give up on corporate leadership. It’s what inspired me to go back to my research and assemble my list of the ten greatest CEOs of all time. Great CEOs build organizations that thrive long after they’re gone, making it impossible to judge their performance until they’ve been out of office at least ten years. I used to winnow a universe of more than 400 CEOs.
So what, exactly, made these ten so great? Strikingly, many of them never thought of themselves as CEO material. The second-greatest CEO on the list initially refused the job on the grounds that he wasn’t qualified. 9 described herself as “scared stiff. 5 was once told flatly, “You will never be a leader. Striking, too, is the sheer scale of their time frames.
Yet if one thing defines these ten giants, it was their deep sense of connectedness to the organizations they ran. They understood the central paradox of exceptional corporate leadership: On the one hand, a company depends more on the CEO than on any other individual. Only the CEO can make the really big decisions. Much depended on them, but it was never about them. Inclusion on this list would surprise, if not horrify, more than a few of them.
In an age of diminished standards, those they set loom larger than ever. His eulogy pamphlet identified the Hewlett-Packard co-founder as ‘Rancher, etc. In 1949, 37-year-old David Packard attended a meeting of business leaders. Fidgeting while they discussed how to squeeze more profit from their companies, he was finally unable to contain himself. A company has a greater responsibility than making money for its stockholders,” he asserted. Eyes turned toward his six-foot-five-inch frame.