Reflection: The risky rise and fall of celebrity CEOs

Perspectives: The risky rise and fall of celebrity CEOs

Recent upheavals in the tech world prove that the invulnerability of rockstar status for some business leaders, such as Elon Musk and Sheryl Sandberg, is limited and, sometimes, counterproductive, writes James Bailey, a professor at the George Washington University School of Business.

For many executives, cultural celebrity is good branding and an inoculant to merciless P&Ls or disapproving boards of directors. A shrewd CEO can use Twitter to counter rumors on Wall Street or dodge a public relations nightmare.

But recent disruptions in the tech industry suggest that celebrity may have its limits. Elon Musk of Tesla and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, who have both carefully cultivated public personas, have found that global fame is not foolproof when government investigators come knocking.

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