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The Hero’s FarewellWhat Happens When CEOs Retire$
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Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780195065831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195065831.001.0001

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Riding into the Sunset and Through to Dawn

Riding into the Sunset and Through to Dawn

(p.267) 12 Riding into the Sunset and Through to Dawn
The Hero’s Farewell

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

Oxford University Press

The impact of a leader's exit from office demonstrates just how much leaders matter. A leader's late-career self-image, expressed in the departure style, fundamentally influences the firm's strategy and the livelihood of many. This chapter briefly summarizes the discussions on the previous chapters. In discussing chief executives as aging heroes, three levels of heroism are outlined: as society's heroes, heroes of the firm, and self-defined heroes. With regards to heroic self-concept and executive retirement, this chapter asserts that it is during the time of retirement when one most often find a clash between the organization's goals and the leader's personal goals. As for heroic self-concept and heroic context, four dominant departure styles emerged. This chapter also focuses on the link between corporate renewal and personal renewal, including how individual leaders can guide their own self-renewal and how firms can usefully sponsor late-career revitalization.

Keywords:   late-career self-image, departure style, chief executives, levels of heroism, executive retirement, corporate renewal, personal renewal

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