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Angel Cabrera
Academic President

Needed: SuperHUMANS not superheroes

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?

Taking BP out of the hole it dug itself into will require a leader who's part experienced oil & gas executive, part government relations specialist, part statesman, part crisis manager, part credible spokesperson, part cheerleader, part trusted coach. On top of that, whomever replaces Hayward will have to perform these tasks while being subjected to an unprecedented level of public scrutiny. This will be, without a doubt, one of the toughest management jobs of our era.

And yet, the job does not call for a "super hero," but a "super human" leader. The oil-spill crisis has highlighted the evolving and growing expectations society deposits on CEOs. Running an efficient operation and delivering financial results are but a small part of the job description.

Understanding and responding to the often conflicting demands and needs of different stakeholders, shaping cultures, creating meaning (in addition to money), embodying and enforcing values of responsibility as much as competitiveness, managing crises, serving others, cultivating an emotional rapport with individuals inside and outside the organization, managing relationships with multiple levels of government in multiple geographies, make for a much longer to-do list.

The press is pointing at Bob Dudley as potential candidate for the job. I have known Bob for several years as Thunderbird alum and Board Fellow and I believe he has the right combination of skills, attitudes, values and experience to take on the challenge and hit the ground running. Whether him or someone else though, I wish BP's board the wisdom to pick the right leader for the job. Too much is at stake and we all need BP to succeed.

By Angel Cabrera

 |  July 26, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Category:  Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Meet today's corporate heroes | Next: The heroes of Omaha Beach

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If your overriding capitalistic philosophy is "maximize corporate profits in disregard of legal and traditional safeguards by all means necessary", then you are NOT a superhero - but a rather ordinary pathetic villain.

Posted by: shadowmagician | July 27, 2010 9:13 AM
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"Whole" it dug itself?

Posted by: cellmaker | July 27, 2010 7:45 AM
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