Leadership succession

If you are investing in the world's tech giants or want to know how they will manage succession, there are some interesting pointers to think about.

by Knowledge@Wharton
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

First, the visionaries start out young and consequently are likely to remain key figures at the top for extremely long periods of time. Even though Bill Gates has passed on the CEO baton to Steve Ballmer, he is still Chairman and as such remains a crucial component of the company’s future success. It is he who will determine whether the vision is right for its next growth phase. Once Gates does move on, however, a new visionary will be needed and some people point to the tech-visionary Ray Ozzie, the principal creator of Lotus Notes who is now employed by Microsoft.

And some Oracle-watchers suggest Larry Ellison might hang on for another 20 years still. Whilst investors are tending to expect a generation of managers to take over tech companies once they have moved past their early start-up phase, there is still a need for a visionary. This is why Steve Jobs is successful at Apple as he appears to blend both the innovative thinking and the implementation skills. The I-pod's success is a testament to his unique approach.

Finally, good leaders in the tech industry will have to have a good empathy with the meritocratic culture that exists in this sector. They need to be able to work with employees at all levels in a collaborative effort to propel the best innovation forward.

Source: The Succession Question at Tech Firms: When is the Right Time to Go?
Knowledge@Wharton May 03-16 2006

Reviewed by Morice Mendoza

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