Business: The Agony of Executive Failure

DURING the expansive 1960s, executive promotions came soon and often in a long list of fast-growing U.S. companies. But all too frequently the rising members of the executive suite were hard put to handle their new assignments. "A boom market," says Pittsburgh Executive Recruiter Richard MacQuown, "can camouflage anything, including incompetence." Now business is slowing down, and the camouflage is harder to keep up. Corporate chiefs increasingly must face the agonizing task of reinvigorating or dismissing failing executives.

The problem is surfacing in some of the biggest corporations. Yet the causes and cures...

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