Much was made of the rise of lawyers as CEOs when Pfizer and Home Depot joined Citigroup (and others) in naming former GCs as CEO.
Now the other shoe drops; when you’ve arrived your departure clock starts ticking.
Last Sunday Citigroup CEO Charles Prince resigned. Large financial services companies do nothing small. When they make money, they make it by the truckload. And when they lose it, stand back, call the Fed, and get ready for numbers starting with a “B.”
What caught my eye, however, was Mr. Prince’s memo to staff (as reprinted by the New York Times). Particularly this paragraph:
I am responsible for the conduct of our businesses. It is my judgment that the size of these charges makes stepping down the only honorable course for me to take as Chief Executive Officer. This is what I advised the Board.
It is rare for a CEO, particularly one who is stepping down, to (a) state the obvious, (b) take responsibility, and (c) do so in three short sentences.
Must be that legal writing training.
Here’s hoping that other GCs have the opportunity to be CEO. The marketers, financial types and engineers have been running up losses for years.