TIME’s Top 10 CEO Scandals

Kenneth Lay, Enron In some ways, Kenneth Lay was Enron. Lay helped create the company in 1985; by 2000, he had turned it from a simple natural-gas corporation into an energy-trading giant worth $68 billion. But much of that money was based on shady accounting practices and losses not recorded in its financial statements. Investment analysts began … Continue reading

CEO Interview Guide

  from Neff, Thomas J. and James M. Citrin, Lessons from the Top: The Search for America’s Best Business Leaders. (New York: Doubleday, 1999).  Leadership Questions What are the characteristics that make for a successful CEO today? Have these characteristics changed drastically in the last 10 or 20 years? In looking ahead, what skills and characteristics … Continue reading

A Prescription for Success in Business

from Neff, Thomas J. and James M. Citrin, Lessons from the Top: The Search for America’s Best Business Leaders. (New York: Doubleday, 1999). While the business leaders profiled here demonstrate as wide a range of personalities and styles as any cross section of the population, we did find, as we had hoped, a series of traits … Continue reading

Talking about Decentralization

Alfred P. Sloan of General Motors: Our decentralized organization and our tradition of selling ideas, rather than simply giving orders, impose the need upon all levels of management to make a good case for what they propose. The manager who would like to operate on a hunch will usually find it hard to sell his … Continue reading

The Wisdom of Crowds: Corporations

notes from Surowiecki, James. The Wisdom of Crowds. (Anchor: 2005). The 20th century corporation (Ford, for example) was Vertically integrated. “What a company could do for itself, it should do for itself.” Hierarchical, with many layers of management. Centralized, with final decisionmaking power concentrated among very few executives (or just one) This began to break down … Continue reading

Decency Means More: Costco vs Walmart

notes on Cascio, Wayne F. 2006. “Decency Means more than ‘Always Low Prices’: A Comparison of Costco to Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club.” Academy of Management Perspectives 20 (3). 26-37 Wal-Mart’s focus: lowest possible prices, always. Company’s core values seem to drive its exploitative and even illegal behavior. How do they get their low prices? “Low wages for … Continue reading

Costco CEO Jim Sinegal

CEO and President of US’s third-largest retailer. Reputation for low prices (very narrow profit margins) but also for taking care of employees. 86% of Costco employees get healthcare and benefits — even though half are only part-time. Avg wage: $19/hour. Costco has had no layoffs in the recession. “It’s really pretty simple. It’s good business. … Continue reading

Media Sample: Newsmagazine Interview

Groupon CEO on 60 minutes Avon CEO on Charlie Rose HealthSouth CEO on 60 minutes, answers questions about fraud allegations Chrysler CEO on 60 minutes, Citigroup CEO on Charlie Rose Zappos CEO on 20/20 with Barbara Walters (really starts at 1:37)

FORTUNE’s brief history of the CEO (selections)

[from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2002/11/18/332249/index.htm] Tyrants, Statesmen, and Destroyers (A Brief History of the CEO) Today’s disgraced chieftains are the product of 100 years of evolution. By Jerry Useem November 18, 2002 (FORTUNE Magazine) – Like any of today’s chief executives, John Jacob Astor did his best to stick to a strict daily schedule. As the leading merchant of … Continue reading

Founders as CEOs

[from http://money.cnn.com/2006/04/05/magazines/fortune/founders_f500_fortune_041706/index.htm] Overall, 26 FORTUNE 500 companies boast founder-CEOs, a subset comprising the likes of Apple Computer (Research),FedEx (Research), and Cardinal Health (Research). (The list does not include Dell, Nike, Microsoft, and Starbucks, whose famous founders are now chairmen.) The stocks of these 26 companies (plus Liberty Media, whose founder John C. Malone stepped down as CEO March 1, but remains … Continue reading