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CEO Sacrifices

What all the CEO shuffling in American businesses indicates

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg is receiving wilting criticism in the Senate and in the media for his company’s development of the 737 Max and the way it handled the aftermath of two crashes that killed 346 passengers, his tenure running the company in question after the board stripped him of his chairmanship while commercial aviation chief Kevin McAllister was fired.

He’s hardly alone. The headlines are filled with sudden CEO successions lately. WeWork forced out their charismatic but misleading founder Adam Neumann after paying him an obscene $1.7 billion ransom to leave. Overstock’s founder Patrick Byrne and Papa John’s founder John Schnatter each resigned in scandal earlier this year. According to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a record 1,160 U.S. corporations announced this year that their CEOs were leaving office over the last 12 months. They departed for all kinds of reasons: retirement, planned succession, some from sheer exhaustion, some through appropriate accountability for performance slumps or personal conduct failures.

And some were vilified as scapegoats for problems elsewhere.

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