A recent article in the Wall Street Journal from November 10, 2009 points to a new, and quite interesting business trend. A number of businesses are seeing a new trend with former chief executives taking an active role in helping troubled companies. John “Jack” Krol, for instance, was named, in November as outside chairman of Delphi Automotive LLP. Retired from DuPont Co. as their CEO, he is now working on Delphi’s operating plans and strategies.
Dennis Carey, a senior client partner at Korn/Ferry International, explains this trend. As he says, “These chairmen are strategic equal partners of the CEO because they already demonstrated a successful ‘in the trenches’ style of management.”
This trend is certainly most pronounced at struggling companies, but it’s being seen at more big businesses as well. The Corporate Library, a governance research firm, says that 46 former CEOs are now chairmen of other companies. This statistic is up from 14 in 2004.
Edward Whitacre Jr., for instance, a former CEO of AT&T Corp., has recently made television commercials for GM and has played a key role in convincing fellow directors to keep GM’s Opel brand and European operations.
This should prove to be a very interesting trend to continue to follow in the business world.
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