Management expert Jeffrey Sonnenfeld told CNBC's "Squawk Box" this week that Zimmer falls into a category of departing leaders who he described as "generals" in his book "The Hero's Farewell," which explored the culture of corporate succession.
"They leave office, but not gracefully," said Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management. "Brilliant, visionary founders have reluctance or ambivalence over leaving."
He cited Apple founder Steve Jobs as another example of this phenomenon.
Since Jobs was so revered before his death, it's almost hard to believe that he found himself on the wrong end of a bitter power struggle at the company he started, and was ousted by Apple in 1985. Jobs, of course, later returned to Apple and turned it into the tech powerhouse it is today.
When a company's brand is tied closely with one individual, it's "not necessarily horrible," Sonnenfeld contended, pointing to Jobs, Howard Schultz of Starbucks and Michael Dell, "visionary founders who had the courage and credibility to refresh and revive the brand."
"In the Zimmer case, we don't really know what is going on behind the scenes," Sonnenfeld explained, "because you seem to have a problem there where he didn't want to apparently surrender the control. It's no longer a private company."
The Men's Wearhouse said last week that Zimmer was indeed fired because he was reluctant to give up operational control. He stepped down as CEO two years ago.
(Read More: Men's Wearhouse: Here's Why We Fired George Zimmer)