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Technology & Innovation

Welcome to the Post-CEO World

As world markets become more connected and complex, the vision of a single person is no longer sufficient. Retaining the CEO-based company model could threaten future innovation.

What’s the Latest Development?

The passing of Steve Jobs marked the end of the CEO era. Jobs embodied the popular notion of the lone visionary but Doreen Lorenzo, president of frog, a global innovation firm, says that romantic version of reality poses a threat to innovation. As the world becomes more connected and complex—in an IBM survey of 1,500 global CEOs, 79 percent anticipated greater complexity in the future—the luminous vision of a single person is no longer sufficient (if it ever was) to propel a company forward. 

What’s the Big Idea?

One of the primary responsibilities for business leaders in the post-CEO era is to build a management team capable of furthering the company’s vision after the inevitable loss of a charismatic leader. That is what IBM did, remaining successful after CEO Lou Gerstner left in 2002. There are other successful companies that currently rely on team leadership. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hired experienced manager Sheryl Sandberg to help govern the rapidly expanding business; Google made a similar move by hiring Eric Schmidt.

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