I just found out that a CEO I worked with many years ago "resigned" from his post and that the decision to move on was "mutual." Translation: he was let go.
Not that I routinely have pity for people who make millions of dollars and likely have a golden parachute, but I got to wondering what he will do now. CEO firings are so public, and it can’t be easy to move on. I am sure that this is individual and based on the circumstances, too. Not every ousted CEO will have a bankable story like Carly.
I wonder how difficult it is for ex-CEOs to get new gigs….. I would think that boards would be very hesitant to hire these folks because they could be held accountable if he or she does not work out.
And what about stockholder outcry?
While these ex-bosses likely have the means to get by, most are aggressive career oriented people and will not want to fade into the past unless they are near retirement anyway. In the case of the person I worked with, he is still too young for retirement.
The best route for these guys and gals is to start their own company.
On a related note in an opposite kind of way, Regina offers this post on companies that groom their high potentials. Definitely worth a look. The term "high potential" gives me the heebee jeebees, but the concept is sound. We need to do a better job of recognizing and developing our best talent. I don’t like the term "high potential" because it is so exclusive and pompous. Everyone wants to be considered a high potential but only the top 10-15% are regarded in this way. Really, everyone is a high potential in some way. Most of the time it is a lame manager that fails to bring out the best in people.
I have held jobs were I was considered average and roles where they thought I walked on water. We can all find this, it is our job to figure out where we best fit and to recognize where we don’t. This ex-CEO that I worked with was regarded as amazing and a genius, but something changed with his performance, the role, and circumstances.
It pains me to see people perform or act far below their potential. I once hired a VP. I had high hopes as this fellow is sharp as a tack and very creative. He is a high potential, but started off a bit rocky. Unfortunately he came across very defensive and fearful and this lead to dumb behavior like not listening to the smart people around him and jumping to conclusions. I know he can be better than this, and I always hope that people will recognize their derailing factors and work past them.
I hope this VP will chill out and begin connecting with his team more.
I hope this ex-CEO will find a new business he can build and grow.