Ben Woodhead Deputy editor - digital

Ben Woodhead is deputy editor - digital at the Financial Review Group. He writes on business, technology, politics and the economy and can be found on BRW, The Australian Financial Review and Smart Investor.

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CEO disease: When leaders start to believe their own BS, it’s the beginning of the end, Graeme Samuel says

Published 06 March 2013 07:55, Updated 06 March 2013 11:48

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CEO disease: When leaders start to believe their own BS, it’s the beginning of the end, Graeme Samuel says

“It is important to let the institution grow and mature and not be held back by retired CEOs who feel the need to feed their relevance,” former ACCC chief Graeme Samuel says. Photo: Simon Schluter

Sports people aren’t the only ones who struggle to tear themselves away from the game upon retirement (think Ian Thorpe , Michael Schumacher).

CEOs also do battle with what Gareth Evans once termed “relevance deprivation syndrome”, which the former Labor heavyweight used to describe how he felt when he was no longer part of Parliament’s inner workings.

In The Australian Financial Review, ex Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chief Graeme Samuel has weighed in on the subject with some advice for ex-CEOs on how to let go.

“It is important to let the institution grow and mature and not be held back by retired CEOs who feel the need to feed their relevance,” Samuel says of problem former chief execs who have trouble stepping back from the business in retirement.

The former competition tsar also has some tips for CEOs on how to avoid falling foul of relevance deprivation syndrome, suggesting that bosses need to remember their job is about promoting an institution, not promoting themselves.

“Relevance deprivation syndrome is not a lot different to the ‘CEO disease’. CEO disease is the disease that some CEOs catch – some leaders catch – when they start to believe their own bulls--t. As they start to believe it, it’s the beginning of the end,” he says.

Hugh Davies, from executive career management outfit Hugh Davies, and Melbourne University corporate psychology expert Leisa Sargent also chime in. Read the full story on afr.com.

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