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October 10, 2006


james higham

...Nor is it obvious that chief executives are necessary or sufficient to drive strategic change...Chris, I see where you're coming from and that's your eco-view but it seems to be the old 'benevolent despot v mediocre democrat' argument. If the CEO is really good, he/she can work wonders in the company - I've seen it happen.


Is this a bit like saying you don't need a farmer because plants and animals grow on their own?

There is a real coordination problem and real conflicts over resources.

CEOs, Capi de Capo, Emperors, Kings, Prime Ministers, Fund Managers, Football managers, Judges, team captains and Governors are ubiquitous. Where are the alternatives?

Also it would be easy to underestimate the extent to which some good CEOs operate systems of the kind that you describe.


Sorry, chaps, you're making a a common mistake. You seem to think the case for CEOs is based upon what good ones can do. But most CEOs by definition aren't good. My question is: what does the average CEO do for a company?
Jack - I wasn't at all decrying the importance of coordination. Quite the opposite. It's under-rated relative to the heroic functions that CEOs like to give themselves.


Fair enough. Too much skepticism though and they wouldn't be able to co-ordinate things, that is the myth might be the point, even if it is only a myth.

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