Authors Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries and Elizabeth Florent-Treacy idealistically foresee a new era where visionary, innovative CEO’s will lead a new type of employee. Through insightful interviews, they position Richard Branson of Virgin, Percy Barnevik of ABB and David Simon of British Petroleum as icons of the modern, improved CEO. Certainly, Branson and Simon seem to be valid role models and their leadership of European global companies presents interesting alternatives. Although it is not reflected in this 1999 book, today Barnevik’s reputation is tarnished in the wake of a 2002 severance pay scandal and problems that BusinessWeek refers to as “the mess at ABB.” For good or ill, this book will provoke you to ask if emphasizing a leader’s charismatic ability to motivate distracts attention from critical core business issues. Despite their varied outcomes, these charismatic visionaries created family-like corporate cultures and inspired their employees. Thus, they demonstrated that the new economic era requires a new type of leader. Whether they together constitute a composite of that leader is another question. getAbstract recommends this solid book to management students and to upcoming executives.
About the Authors
Paris-based Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries is a professor at one of the world’s leading global business schools, INSEAD. The author of 15 books, he is also a practicing psychoanalyst and consultant. Elizabeth Florent-Treacy is a specialist in management and leadership at INSEAD.