Should we feel sorry for Chief Executives?

Today, Chief Executives are pursued like never before. They now undertake far more complex set of tasks. This is during a period of considerable change alongside competition of private set-ups and pressure from short-term activists.

Steve Blank, entrepreneur and educator, has stated that he previously called corporate newcomers “ankle-biters”. However, in Vienna, he told last week’s Drucker forum on management, that some of these innovative businesses are much better equipped than the incumbents.

Following this, CEO Hyperactivity is also a dangerous syndrome. For example, the UK’s General Electric Company (GEC), which built a strong reputation for managerial skill under Arnold Weinstock. After GEC had demerged its defence arm in a deal with British Aerospace in 1999, George Simpson, Weinstock’s successor, started a cash-and-debt-fuelled acquisition spree to launch a telecommunications group at the height of the first internet craze. And so, his actions caused the group’s inevitable break-up and burst the bubble.