• Eye Opening
  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take


When Jim Whitehurst, a self-professed “recovering know-it-all CEO,” moved from the airline sector to the software industry, he had to let go of everything he had learned as a leader. He relinquished the traditional “direct and decide” management approach in favor of being the person to “scale the chaos.” Although Whitehurst’s experience is personal and anecdotal, leaders navigating rapidly evolving industries will appreciate his humble revelations.


When Jim Whitehurst joined software company Red Hat as CEO in 2008, he had a classic business background: He had earned an MBA, spent more than a decade as a management consultant and worked his way up to the position of COO at Delta Airlines. At Red Hat, he quickly realized that he couldn’t rely on his previous command-and-control leadership style. During a meeting in his second week on the job, a junior engineer adamantly disagreed with the strategy the company was pursuing. A heated debate followed, but no one took issue with a junior team member challenging upper management. In fact, everyone acted as if it were business as usual. The...

About the Speaker

Jim Whitehurst is the president and CEO of Red Hat and a former COO of Delta Airlines.

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

When Hospitality Means Finding the No
Wanted: Rebel Talent
How Machine Learning Can Teach Us to Build More Effective Teams
An ER Doctor on Triaging Your “Crazy Busy” Life
Leadership Lessons from the Trenches of Disruption
Esther Perel on Relationship Skills and Workplace Dynamics at SXSW 2019

Related Channels