Sydney Finkelstein, professor at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, told CNBC that looking to successful corporate leaders can be a good thing for government agencies, but corporate experience does not always translate perfectly to the public sector. Finkelstein warns about over-valuing what has worked for a leader before his new post.
Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) told CNBC that although he does not know Bob McDonald personally, he believes that McDonald's management skills as a former CEO make him a good fit to run the department, which Miller says is plagued by chronic mismanagement.
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The American Legion, the largest Veterans Service Organization, and which was perhaps the most vocal in calling for Secretary Shinseki's resignation, released a statement saying that although they do not endorse or oppose political nominees, "He [McDonald] will need to have complete hiring and firing authority, along with a willingness to see that those who committed illegal acts are prosecuted."
Alison Levine, author and adviser to the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point, told CNBC that McDonald's effective leadership in both the military and corporate America is a perfect fit for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"He understands that doing things a certain way because 'they've always been done that way' is never going to cut it," Levine said.
Levine says McDonald is an ideal candidate because he understands the military and business.
"The transition from managing soldiers to managing civilians can often present some serious challenges, and it doesn't always go smoothly—but that would not be an issue for Bob McDonald," Levine told CNBC.
CNBC first reported on issues within the VA Healthcare System last August, culminating in a documentary "Death & Dishonor: Crisis at the VA" that was released on Veterans Day of last year.
— By CNBC's Dina Gusovsky