Tag Archives: CEO

Meritocracy isn’t Democracy by Jim Whitehurst, CEO of RedHat

Interesting 6min video interview during which Jim Whitehurst, CEO of RedHat, explains what “Collaboration” means to RedHat employees from Top to Bottom:



Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address (with intro by President John Hennessy) – YouTube

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address (with intro by President John Hennessy) – YouTube.

Of course, there will be a lot of people to talk about how truly unique Steve Jobs was. For me, he will be mostly remembered for his extraordinary commencement speech at Stanford in 2005: maybe more than a highly successful business man, he was simply a Great Person !

God bless him !

Capitalism for the Long Term – Harvard Business Review

Capitalism for the Long Term – Harvard Business Review.

Is there an oxymoron right in the title or has the capital market slowly diverted the attention of the capitalistic system from long term value to quarterly earnings?If you are interested in the answers to such questions and what we shall do about it, this HBR article is for you !

Who’s the boss in an open world by Bob Sutton

Here is a refreshing excerpt from an interview of Bob Sutton, Professor of Management at Stanford University.

The part that I did enjoy most is the end of it where he shares with us the unique challenges that the CEO of Mozilla has to face by running a business, which only exists because there is an open community of Software developers that is committed to it. Interestingly enough, even though he is the CEO, he has no authority on the new features that will be added to its Firefox web browser. How does he live with it? Well.. actually very well, because he has understood and accepted that this software development effort is led by people, who are so much more knowledgeable than himself in that particular area that it is actually a safe bet to delegate the ultimate decision to them…

Wow, that’s a profound leadership lesson, the kind of we would like to see more often !

Is Google still innovative?

It is interesting to see how everything is a matter of perspective. I received this RSS feed earlier today:

  • Google’s Schmidt hands top job to Page as company posts strong Q4. Google’s Eric Schmidt has announced his resignation, and will hand the CEO job to company co-founder (and original CEO) Larry Page. Schmidt, who will remain as executive chairman to advise Page, says the change “will result in faster decision making and better value for the shareholders.” Analysts say the move is aimed at helping the company regain an entrepreneurial stance, addressing claims that it has grown too large and bureaucratic. In Q4, Google’s earnings rose 29 percent to $2.54 billion, with revenue rising 26 percent to $8.44 billion. Research firm eMarketer notes that the company’s revenue, while still mainly driven by search ads, was boosted by a growing stake in the display ad market. New York Times; Wall Street Journal; USA TodayAssociated Press (also Bloomberg Businessweek)

So Eric Schmidt would be stepping down in order to reinvigorate Google’s entrepreneurial spirit ! Well… I can only speak for myself but Google was still in my eyes one of the iconic brand conveying an innovative and entrepreneurial image. So what a surprise !

That being said, it would be too early to cry for Eric Schmidt. He does not leave his CEO position uncovered for the future:

  • Google’s Schmidt gets $100m grant: Google’s Eric Schmidt, who recently announced his plans to move from CEO to executive chairman, has received an equity award of $100 million in stock and stock options. Experts say the award is unusual, as apart from the sheer size of the award, most such awards are granted to new CEOs. Outlets also note that Schmidt recently filed to sell $335 million in company shares.

Again a matter of perspective. Many people will find such a golden parachute  indecent in the current economic climate. However, I’m sure that if he were interviewed on the matter, he would say that this is a fair compensation for the business value he contributed to generate for Google.

One single reality, multiple possible interpretations of it… what’s the truth? Is there only one? Who holds it?… I’m puzzled

Conversations with Global Leaders by McKinsey

I have always been intrigued by the attributes, personal qualities of these individuals, who made up their way through the ranks to achieve the top spot of a global company. What is it that they had, which made them so special so much so that whatever they did, they always stood out of the pack? So when McKinsey gave me the opportunity to listen to some of them, of course, I did not want to miss it by any chance and I did listen to all of them.

Interview recordings can be found on the McKinsey website here.

Now, what stroke me when I was listening to all these guys was:

  • Obviously, they are brilliant but this was a no-brainer
  • They are also incredibly hard-workers. Reaching and staying at the top spot is not an easy task. It requires a huge amount of dedication and personal sacrifice to accept and keep that kind of position
  • They were a lot more balanced than what I thought they would be. As a matter of fact, you would expect them to be extremely business results-focused: making the numbers, month after month, quarter after quarter, half after half and year after year. Well, actually the people that I listened to did acknowledge that they would most probably be remembered for consistently achieving the numbers but this was actually not what was most important to them. Several time, I heard:
  • “Making a contribution to society”
  • “Walking the talk”

So would it be possible after all that all these guys, who seem to leave on a different planet than ours, have common values with us? Would it be possible that we criticize them because we do not understand from where we are the breadth and depth of their contribution?

Many of them were showing a lot more humility than what we are used to with people at these levels. So aren’t we judging too fast? Aren’t we basing our opinions on truncated views?… I’m not sure I have the answer, I do not believe there is one single answer, there may be as many answers as there are CEO’s but at least it is worth asking oneself the question and give them the credit of the doubt…