In this article, Forbes covers the "Unmaking of Motorola".
What a fall!
Whoever says this fall was unexpected is a moron!
My POV has always been, beware the faithful long-serving subordinate who is either told he/she won be ascending to the peak, or is removed from propinquity to total power in the enterprise.
These people, if they are able to worm their way into a chief executive position at another firm, usually proceed with disastrous results to the shareholders.
For them, the ambition for ultimate power makes them a satyr for such power.
However, since they were under the tutelage of a master, such discards are given more credit than they deserve.
When Jeffrey R. Immelt was installed as CEO of General Electric, I screamed at the TV in dismay, stunned as was the rest of the world
Just WTF, I asked, is Immelt.
Now I know.
As a holder of GE, I cannot thank Jack Welch enough for Immelt’s selection.
When Zander was installed at MOT, it was as if The Master has arrived to take Motorola to the Promised Land.
Eh, excuse me, but didn’t McNealy, himself in no way a Welch, reject this guy for Jonathan Schwartz? Could he have missed it so badly?
Anyways, since I did not own any of MOT, so I could give a fu*k.
He came in and did the usual: layoffs, spinoffs, Steve Jobs-like platitudes about feel-good-to-Wall Street policies.
Then came the product announcements. And the stock blew up.
All of a sudden, he was seen as a visionary.
To an observer, it seemed that all the glory rightfully belonged to Chris Galvin, who had the misfortune of being seen as a scion of the founding family, not as someone who returned Motorola to its engineering and innovative roots.
Think about it: every new product in the mainstay cellular phone line was conceived under Galvin.
Nevertheless, homie rode the wave.
However, you can fool people for so long.
Jim Hightower, former Texas agriculture commissioner, once predicted the fall of Newt using the African baboon proverb, “The higher a baboon climbs up a tree, the easier it is t tell that it has a dirty a$$”, a bushman’s take on the emperor has no clothes.
Quick, think about all the Motorola innovations of Zander’s reign?
OK, what about product intros?
How many were developed by him?
See what I mean?
Some companies come to mind: Home Depot, Nike, etc..
Even in sports, where you have a coach fired, another comes to take his place, has a superb first year, and then proceeds to ride the team into the ground. Tampa Bay, Notre Dame, come easily to mind, though I’m sure there’s a multitude out there.