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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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The General's Departure

The General's Departure

(p.129) 7 The General's Departure
The Hero’s Farewell

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld

Oxford University Press

Generals also depart in a style marked by forcible exit. Here, the chief executive leaves office reluctantly, but plots his return and quickly comes back to office out of retirement in order to rescue the company from the real or imagined inadequacy of his or her successor. The general enjoys being the returning savior and often hopes to remain around long enough to take the firm and himself towards even greater glory. In this chapter, three well-known military generals—Douglas MacArthur, George S. Pattern, and Charles de Gaulle—will serve as models for the corporate general. The leaders reviewed in this chapter are considered as generals because, like the three military generals discussed, they came to rely upon the corporate battlefield for their primary adult identity. This chapter also illustrates how their need for successful heroic mission is not as motivating as their need to retain their heroic stature.

Keywords:   generals, chief executive, retirement, Douglas MacArthur, George S. Pattern, Charles de Gaulle, heroic mission, heroic stature

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