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Abraham Zaleznik
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Abraham Zaleznik

Abraham Zaleznik is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School.

Doubts About Talent

The question displays a bias of, "Don't fire the CEO!" In fact, firing Wagoner makes sense given the problems at GM. His failures are finance oriented, and the problems in GM is product design and marketing. The successor to Wagoner, therefore, should show strength in these areas, in order to give that successor face validity. The comment in the question "irrespective of talent" suggests blind support for Wagoner. Why else fire the CEO unless there are a multitude of doubts about his talent?

By Abraham Zaleznik

 |  March 30, 2009; 11:19 AM ET
Category:  Economic crisis Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Mr. Waggoner is not an innocent victim of government caprice. He led a management team that sunk GM and has been to Washington twice to beg for bail-out funds. As such he is a failure as an industrial leader. The G has done what GM's board obviously does not have the courage or judgement to do.

At this point what possible role would Waggoner have in pulling GM out of its current mess. He squandered the entire company focussing on a market for products (big trucks and SUV's carrying large profit margins)that dwindled while more nimble companies produced products that people will buy.

Posted by: roboturkey | March 30, 2009 1:28 PM
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