Wagoner, GM and CEOs

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President Obama has pushed aside General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner to hasten a turnaround of the once-proud carmaker, a decision that would have been unthinkable had GM continued making cars consumers wanted to buy.

General Motors has long been criticized for allowing cost-conscious bean counters to push aside “car guys” who could have dreamed up interesting new vehicles. Wagoner himself came up through accounting, not engineering, although supporters felt he was succeeding in his own turnaround effort before Obama stepped in.

What kinds of people should occupy corner offices, and does a numbers person automatically throw a wet blanket over a company’s creativity?

What about leaders from outside the industry? Clarian Health chief Dan Evans — a lawyer, not a doctor — is pushing the hospital’s influence throughout the state.

In short, how necessary is it for the CEO to be an enthusiast?

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