Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs

Rakesh Khurana


Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs

Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs

  • Title: Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs
  • Author: Rakesh Khurana
  • ISBN: 9780691120393
  • Page: 477
  • Format: Paperback



Corporate CEOs are headline news Stock prices rise and fall at word of their hiring and firing Business media debate their merits and defects as if individual leaders determined the health of the economy Yet we know surprisingly little about how CEOs are selected and dismissed or about their true power This is the first book to take us into the often secretive world ofCorporate CEOs are headline news Stock prices rise and fall at word of their hiring and firing Business media debate their merits and defects as if individual leaders determined the health of the economy Yet we know surprisingly little about how CEOs are selected and dismissed or about their true power This is the first book to take us into the often secretive world of the CEO selection process Rakesh Khurana s findings are surprising and disturbing In recent years, he shows, corporations have increasingly sought CEOs who are above all else charismatic, whose fame and force of personality impress analysts and the business media, but whose experience and abilities are not necessarily right for companies specific needs The labor market for CEOs, Khurana concludes, is far less rational than we might think.Khurana s findings are based on a study of the hiring and firing of CEOs at over 850 of America s largest companies and on extensive interviews with CEOs, corporate board members, and consultants at executive search firms Written with exceptional clarity and verve, the book explains the basic mechanics of the selection process and how hiring priorities have changed with the rise of shareholder activism Khurana argues that the market for CEOs, which we often assume runs on cool calculation and the impersonal forces of supply and demand, is culturally determined and too frequently inefficient Its emphasis on charisma artificially limits the number of candidates considered, giving them extraordinary leverage to demand high salaries and power It also raises expectations and increases the chance that a CEO will be fired for failing to meet shareholders hopes The result is corporate instability and too little attention to long term strategy.The book is a major contribution to our understanding of corporate culture and the nature of markets and leadership in general.


Recent Comments "Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs"

BY PERMISSION FROM paper-trailsOriginal post: paper-trails/2012/07/19/alwSemester's end, I've got some down time having finally wrapped up a long-brewing research paper for my Human Resources course. I looked at the problem – common to public and private sectors – of executive selection. The reality is that formal succession planning is rare so the choice often has attributes of a crisis, and especially for a dysfunctional organisation attempting a turnaround, the dilemma is a timeless one: [...]

If you replace terms like charismatic with narcissistic, you start to connect the dots Khurana charted in 2002 with the state of those companies today and their role in the financial crises of 2008.

An interesting book about how to think about CEO searches and pay. It does appear that the criteria are a little non-specific and investor driven. I do think that this book in the discourse of other trends in business is very interesting as relates to what exactly the system of economics is warping into.What I think is unfortunate is that he chose Jamie Dimon as his example of a "not as good" CEO. I think what this author may be slightly guilty is similar to what many investors are guilty of. Th [...]

I read this book for a project I was going to do at my newspaper on CEO pay, but later shelved indefinitely. I suppose you would need a strong interest in the subject, but if you have it, this is a very good book with provocative and compelling arguments that the latter-day tendency of American corporations to search for celebrity CEOs has had a negative effect on corporate life by restricting the pool of executive talent and boosting the ever escalating pay of CEOs through intense competition f [...]

A must read for those who are responsible for hiring executives

Recommended by Professor Timothy Vogus


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