Prepare to tell long-serving bosses their time is up

From left: Chief executive of Tesla Elon Musk, former General Electric chief executive John Flannery and former Pfizer chief executive Ian Read.
From left: Chief executive of Tesla Elon Musk, former General Electric chief executive John Flannery and former Pfizer chief executive Ian Read.PHOTOS: REUTERS

You should be able to divide any list of chief executives into three categories: the indispensable, the interchangeable and the irredeemable. The past week has provided examples of all three.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission decided Mr Elon Musk was vital to the success of Tesla, requiring him to renounce the chairmanship as part of a deal over governance and disclosure failings, but letting him stay on as chief executive.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 14, 2018, with the headline 'Prepare to tell long-serving bosses their time is up'. Print Edition | Subscribe