Rodney Dangerfield was right. Sometimes you get no respect -- even if you're a CEO or former CEO who started a highly successful company.
As president of my own company, I know the feeling well. Sometimes, my employees want to do things their own way. It's especially hard to take
when they're right.
Col. Sanders learned the get-no-respect lesson 40 years ago after selling Kentucky Fried Chicken and stepping down from his role as CEO to that of
When the Colonel went public with his concern that the new owners were lowering quality standards, they told him to shut up and reminded him it would
cost him a lot of money if he didn't. He kept his concerns to himself after that. Talk about getting no respect.
It didn't happen in Colonel Sanders’ case, but some companies bring their ex-bosses back as a way to improve their reputation as well as their
It doesn't always work.
The Six-Hour Revolt
A group of shareholders staged a six-hour revolt recently at the annual meeting of South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. over
plans to bring back a former CEO. They thought his conviction for embezzling millions of dollars from the company several years ago meant bringing him
back wasn't a good idea. In fairness to the executive in question, he did receive a pardon. I think the shareholders weren't convinced he was
Sometimes things work out quite well when a CEO returns.
Co-founder Steve Jobs left Apple in the mid-1980's because he was no longer getting any respect from his own Board of Directors.
But he got the last laugh. He came back in 2000 to bail out a company on the brink of disaster. Even before his success in restoring Apple as a
profitable, thriving company, the media greeted his return positively. So far, at least, Jobs' return to Apple is nothing short of triumphal.
More recently, Michael Dell returned as CEO of the computer company he founded, with a mission similar to the one Jobs undertook at Apple -- restore
the company's image and profitability.
The media and others have been more skeptical of Dell's return.1
Ultimately, of course, the wisdom of Dell's return will depend on whether he succeeds in restoring his company to its former position of
In the meantime, the company might want to consider measuring what the media and analysts are saying about their new rehired CEO and the company
itself (if they aren't doing it already) and building messages to counter the negative hits they’re taking.
In fact, I've found that measuring media coverage of what the executives say and do is generally a good idea. Sometimes, you can use the results
of those measurements to get executives to make changes on their own that they won’t do just because you tell them they should -- even if you're
1Print and online press coverage from
Factiva, 1/1/2000 through 12/31/2000 (Jobs) and 1/1/2007 through 3/18/2007 (Dell).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Someone gave Debra a ruler the day she showed up for the first grade, and she's been measuring
things ever since. She founded Blue Marble Enterprises in 1994, and over the past 13 years Blue Marble has built the world's largest database of
media impressions and ad rates for media measurement. You can reach her at
firstname.lastname@example.org / 303-750-9610.
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