Narcissus and Arrogant CEOs

Narcissus a son of river god and nymph was a very handsome youth. He was so full of himself that he rejected love of nymph called Echo. Goddess of revenge called Nemesis decided to punish him for this. She made him fall in love with his reflection. He started spending hours looking at his reflection, unable to leave beauty of his own reflection, till he died. Word Narcissism owns its origin to it.


Prof. Dan Hambrick defines a narcissist as someone showing the following four personality characteristics:
1. Entitlement – I insist upon getting the respect that is due to me.
2. Leadership/Authority – I like to be the center of attention.
3. Superiority/Arrogance – I am better than others.
4. Self-absorption/Self-admiration – I am preoccupied with how extraordinary and special I am.

'It's amazing that with all the things I've done that I haven't gotten a big head.'

Dan also created an index to measure narcissism in CEOs. The four measures are…
1.The prominence (size) of the CEO’s photo in the annual report
2.CEO prominence (number of mentions) in company press releases
3.CEO’s use of first person singular pronouns in transcripts of public comments to shareholders
4.The gap between the CEO pay and the pay of the 2nd highest paid executive.

Two such examples are …

Carly Fiorina- Who was so confident of her decision to acquire Compaq and merge it with HP, that she ignored opinion of board members, employees and shareholders. HP acquired Compaq for $24 billion, only to realise that they had overpaid, acquisition ended with $ 14 billion as goodwill in books of HP! Finally Carly was sacked, when merger failed. HP was neither able to compete with Dell in hardware segment nor with IBM in software/services segment.

HP compaq

Albert Dunlap-When he took over as CEO of Sunbeam, he ruthlessly sacked people, closed some product lines etc. to cut cost, but at the same time kept increasing his compensation package. Finally he was sacked after it was discovered that he was indulging in malpractices to show inflated sales figures (using infamous bill and hold technique and as usual the auditors Arthur Andersen were unable to spot malpractice).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s