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Is it now the age of bringing back former leaders?

, September 28, 2013, 0 Comments

The return of organizational leaders, usually the CEOs has not been uncommon in the business world. The list of returning leaders includes Steve Jobs of Apple, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, A. G. Lafely of Proctor & Gamble, Mike Ullman of J. C. Penney and Narayana Murthy of Infosys.

Why and when are former leaders brought back?

The Board normally makes a move to bring leaders from the past when the performance of the organization is faltering, stock price is falling and the current organizational strategy is failing. The former leaders of all the organizations mentioned above have been successful and the primary intention of bringing them back is to restore the organization! The stock price of these organizations moves in a positive direction when the leader returns and it is hoped that the leader’s strategic guidance will make a difference to the bottom line.

Nancy Koehn, a historian and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, says “When the company needs someone who can fix very specific things quickly and effectively, it can work”

Bringing back a former leader may seem like a desperate move but it was a wise and triumphant decision when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and Howard Schultz to Starbucks! Both these men were founders of the named organizations; they were passionate and attached to their organizations and were in a good position to turn them around.

Is the same hoped for Infosys? Narayana Murthy formed Infosys with a vision and passion and has returned to help re-establish its position in the marketplace. Some believe he can help Infosys regain its position while others are skeptical arguing if Murthy can do something, why was it not done earlier?! The success of this returning CEO remains to be seen.

In my opinion, Mr. Murthy can revive and restore Infosys to its former glory!

What is your opinion?