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Transitions at the Top: What Organizations Must Do to Make Sure New Leaders Succeed by David L. Dotlich, Dan Ciampa

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1 Complexity and Critical Crossroads

Alot is at stake during the transition of one top executive to the next, especially at the CEO level. Emotions often run high and can cause an otherwise simple event to take on outsized importance. Consider the case of Dave, a 62-year-old CEO who had taken over a midsized technology company. As he edged toward retirement, the board was committed to finding an executive to replace him and lead the company into a new era of management.

Dave had been brought on five years earlier by private-equity investors who had taken the company private to fix problems that had come from costs that were too high and the lack of discipline or an infrastructure to support rapid growth. In getting the company back into shape, ...

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