The first time I met Don Valentine (former head honcho at Sequoia Capital) he was repeating his mantra of “I’ve never fired a CEO too soon.”
Yet even back then it was obvious to me that companies where the founding CEO remained in place were out-performing the companies where people like Don and his ilk were knee-jerking the CEOs out and replacing them with slick salespeople who could “make the numbers” for a few quarters at the expense of longer-term vision and strategy and overall viability.
Anyone remember slick sales guy John Akers, who took IBM from top dog to confused missed-the-boat-entirely also-ran? Don Valentine loved people like Akers and wanted to place people just like him at the top of all Sequoia’s portfolio companies.
It would be interesting to calculate just how much Don cost his LLPs over the years by clinging to his mindless macho-man attitude and resolutely ignoring all the companies that disproved his thinking. You know: those tiny unimportant companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Dell, Intel, etc. etc. etc.