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Michael Maccoby
Scholar

Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby is an anthropologist and psychoanalyst globally recognized as an expert on leadership. He is the author of The Leaders We Need, And What Makes Us Follow.

Fragile reputations

Q: Tony Hayward, once credited for BP's "green" turnaround, is forced to resign in disgrace. Michael Dell, the revolutionary high-tech entrepreneur, is sanctioned for misleading investors. Wall Street titans, once lionized, are now reviled. Where have all the CEO heroes gone?

The reputations of CEOs are fragile, especially in public companies where they are measured every quarter. Their stock price depends on future expectations. Past achievements are like last year's batting average. Failure to meet expectations, mishandling of disasters or shady dealings quickly blacken a CEO's reputation.

Yet, even in difficult times there are CEOs who have managed to stay on their slippery pedestals. Here are a few who are widely admired: Steve Jobs, as a brilliant innovator; Warren Buffett, for collecting companies with quality products and competent, trustworthy management; Mark Hurd, for driving costs out of HP; Alan Mulally, for strengthening Ford and staying clear of government interference; Sam Palmisano, for engaging IBMers in developing a collaborative culture and leading solid growth; Jamie Dimon, for navigating ChaseMorgan Bank through rocky rapids.

All of these leaders have provided value for customers, employees and share holders. They deserve our admiration, at least right now.

By Michael Maccoby

 |  July 27, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Category:  Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: CEOs get booed when they lose too | Next: Neither heroes nor villians

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Do you think Jobs, Buffett, Hurd, Mulally, Palmisano endure because of their personal traits and choices, or have they just not had the misfortune of being connected with something they cannot control?

Posted by: gcasey1952 | July 29, 2010 4:49 PM
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