CORPORATIONS: Of Board Rooms And Bedrooms

Sir John Davis' 13-year tenure as chairman of Britain's Rank Organization (annual sales: $600 million) has long seemed a corporate version of the reign of Henry VIII. A 68-year-old, 202-lb. former accountant and veteran of five marriages, Davis ran the company like a Renaissance monarch: he insisted on deciding personally minute details like the design of an invitation card to a company party, and became known as "the executioner" for his summary firings of scores of lesser executives. The latest and most notable casualty occurred in September, when Sir John got rid...

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