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The Hero's Farewell : What Happens When CEOs Retire - Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

The Hero's Farewell

What Happens When CEOs Retire

Paperback Published: 7th February 1991
ISBN: 9780195065831
Number Of Pages: 336

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How a business replaces its chief executive often determines that firm's future. If a business does not effectively manage the transfer of power, utter turmoil can result, with profound implications not only for the CEO, but also for the other employees, the shareholders, and the community at large.
Filled with inside stories from corporate boardrooms and fresh conceptual perspectives, The Hero's Farewell describes in rich detail the factors that affect executive succession. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld offers the first close examination of the critical role a CEO's departure style plays in helping, or hindering, the transfer of power. Through candid interviews with fifty prominent retired chief executives from corporations such as AT&T, Ford, Dupont, United Technologies, and Raytheon (David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan and Thomas J. Watson, Jr. of IBM among them) and a survey of an additional three hundred top managers, Sonnenfeld identifies the four major types of leadership departure styles. These types include Monarchs, who choose not to leave voluntarily but either die in office or are overthrown; Generals, who leave reluctantly and spend their retirement planning a comeback; Ambassadors, who retain close ties with their former firms; and Governors, who willingly serve a limited time and leave to pursue new interests.
Capturing the human drama of these departures and succession battles, The Hero's Farewell will fascinate anyone intrigued by power struggles in large corporations. Outlining ways to smooth out the inevitable transfers of power that corporations must face, Sonnenfeld presents essential information for all top executives and especially for CEOs.

Industry Reviews

"A thoughtful account of the transition that high-powered CEOs confront as they consider retirement."--Chicago Tribune "Intriguing exploration of succession strategies."--H.A. Raymond, University of South Dakota "Excellent--thoughtful, well-documented, rich material, well-written. An important contribution."--Lynne Rosansky, Babson College "Excellent book on what makes the CEO tick. The scholarship is sound, and the conclusions are convincing."--F.M. Buchanan, Salisbury State University "Excellent--covers a very intriguing topic which all managers must deal with."--Lanny A, Karus, State University of New York, Oswego "A shrewd management study."--Newsweek "Sonnenfeld presents an original theory, based on five years of research and interviews with fifty top executives, to explain both the psyches and the departure styles of CEOs. He offers frank, revealing profiles of individual business leaders and how they left....A pathbreaking achievement. Sonnenfeld's research is innovative and substantive, his material is soundly organized, and he presents it with skill and flair. The book deserves to be read widely, both by business people and by others who want insights into what's happening in corporate America."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "Sonnenfeld has provided a valuable service, as well as an interesting study, by showing through examples that the method by which a CEO exits a firm can be as important to the company as the method by which that same chief executive led it."--The Miami Herald "[Sonnenfeld] has succeeded--and succeeded brilliantly--in what he set out to do....One of the best business books of the past year, perhaps of the decade....[The Hero's Farewell] has something of real value to say about management and, more important, about leadership. The volume is filled with fascinating stories from inside corporate boardrooms, but these stories never fall into mere anecdotalism: they always make or confirm an important point. It is challenging. It is highly recommended."--The Toronto Globe and Mail "This is a fascinating book, not least for what it has to say about the nature of leadership and the complex psychology of those who achieve it....A welcome change from the breathless simple-mindedness of so many of the management best-sellers of recent years."--Financial Times (London) "Replete with examples of post-leadership fulfillment, often through activities that involve continued leadership outside the corporate context....The Hero's Farewell offers a thoughtful and humanistic study of a side of the CEO that has parallels for all."--Harvard Business School Bulletin "In this fascinating and informed look at management succession...Sonnenfeld explores the sense of emptiness and insignificance that retiring CEOs feel....One of those rare business books that informs as well as engages."--Business Week "Wide-ranging....Absorbing."--Kirkus Reviews "Fascinating."--Forbes Magazine "A clever, thoughtful exposition on the retirement patterns of CEOs....Sonnenfeld has created an entertaining game of identifying useful stereotypes: once you learn them, you can apply them to every leader you know."--The Atlantic "This is a book about everybody who works....Sonnenfeld's views into these privileged private lives are filled with compassion and insight....It is rare for a book to provide absorbing biography, compelling social commentary, critical historical observation, or vital personal counsel. The Hero's Farewell does all of this and does it well."--Fortune Magazine "A pathbreaking achievement....Deserves to be read widely, both by business people and by others who want insights into what's happening in corporate America."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "Engrossing....Not pretentious or bookish, this work ranges captivatingly over much received wisdom and research concerning late-career phenomena and contributes its own new results and stimulating leads."--Choice "A creative, innovative work--an act of leadership in itself."--James MacGregor Burns, Williams College "An insightful and imaginative book exploring an important but hidden side of leadership....Sonnenfeld's in-depth account is a model analysis of how the human and strategic sides of business are connected."--Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School "Fascinating....I'm sure the book will be a great success."--Alfred G. Goldstein, President, Sears Specialty Retailing "A fine piece of work and beautiful writing. It's well-crafted, very solid in terms of theory, literature, and original data, and written with much heart."--Douglas T. Hall, Boston University "A super book--very well written."--Walter Trosin, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Merck & Co. "A very comprehensive work which has broken new ground. I don't know of any other volume that has given attention to top management retirement....This should get a warm reception and a good deal of applause."--Harry Levinson, The Levinson Institute "Each time I read over this book, I come away more excited and informed....Marvelous stuff--and writing."--Warren Bennis, University of Southern California "Most interesting and analogous to what happens to U.S. Presidents even before they retire."--James David Barber, Duke University "Interesting and readable....Systematic, precise, cautious, and learned."--Roger Brown, Harvard University "Each time I read over this book, I come away more excited and informed....Marvelous stuff and writing."--Warren Bennis, University of Southern California "A monumental accomplishment. Sonnenfeld has done what he set out to do--describe that half of executive succession that no one has examined."--Academy of Management Executive "Extremely well documented....It is surprisingly free of technical, academic writing, yet it retains an authoritative, scholarly respectability."--Business Book Review "This book is written about a timely and relevant topic, the author's inferences are reasoned, and the writing style is riveting."--Academy of Management Review "Day-long interviews with 50 prominent retired CEOs yield insightful, richly described examples of each exit style.... Sonnenfeld's use of quotes and anecdotes bring to life the unique problems founders face when exiting the firms they created. Throughout these chapters, revelations by the CEOs about the events and politics surrounding their departures as well as their own tumultuous feelings are poignantly captured in Sonnenfeld's engaging writing style."--Journal of Management

Chief Executives Interviewedp. xi
Heroes in Late Careerp. 3
Aging Leaders and Other Aging Workersp. 10
Executive Retirement and the Parade of Future Leadersp. 30
Corporate Folk Heroes: Living Legends or Business Cheerleaders?p. 39
The Hero's Reluctant Farewellp. 58
The Monarch's Departurep. 80
The General's Departurep. 129
The Ambassador's Departurep. 151
The Governor's Departurep. 183
The Small Business Leader Faces Departurep. 217
Parting Patriarchs of the Family Firmsp. 237
Riding into the Sunset and Through to Dawnp. 267
Chief Executive Succession Surveyp. 291
Notesp. 295
Indexp. 313
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195065831
ISBN-10: 0195065832
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 7th February 1991
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.64 x 14.22  x 2.13
Weight (kg): 0.29