Summary of Searching for a Corporate Savior

The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs

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Searching for a Corporate Savior book summary
The corporate savior is a mythological — but still dangerous — creature.


9 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style


Charisma and reputation have replaced management experience and industry expertise in the corner office. Certainly that’s not news to anyone who has read the business press at any time in the past decade, but the trend is certainly important enough to warrant the comprehensive examination provided by Rakesh Khurana. Starting with an analysis of the increasing power of activist institutional investors, Khurana traces the process through which boards of directors have forsaken mature managers for media darlings in their CEO searches. In light of the spate of embarrassing and enraging CEO scandals, recommends this book to all readers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why companies have embraced the superstar chief executive
  • How institutional investors, Wall Street analysts and the business press influence the process of hiring, retaining and firing a CEO
  • Why and how boards of directors should revise the process through which they choose and appoint CEOs


The Superstar CEO
The rise of investor capitalism and changing conceptions about business leadership have significantly altered the role of the chief executive officer. This shift is of critical importance to society as a whole, since the decisions made by CEOs affect the lives of millions...
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About the Author

Rakesh Khurana is an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Harvard Business School. He began this project as his 1998 dissertation: The Changing of the Guard: Causes, Process, and Consequences of CEO Turnover, using a database of all the CEO turnovers in the 850 largest American corporations from 1978-1996.

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