The impact any CEO makes on their organisation turns on a complex interplay of factors, from culture, industry and personality to timing.
As a young man of 20 in his first job at a state-owned enterprise in China, Guoli Chen found senior management fascinating, but not in a good way. His boss’s boss did very little – unless one counts reading newspapers, drinking tea and gossiping as work. “I wondered whether anyone could replace him without affecting the [organisation’s] overall performance”, recalls Chen, now a professor of strategy at INSEAD. He didn’t stick