Entrepreneur Asia: Power Players

Why these executives abandoned the corner office

Leslie Shaffer | Writer for CNBC.com
Rene Mansi | E+ | Getty Images

The corporate suite isn't a typical breeding ground for entrepreneurs, but some executives find reasons to strike out on their own after climbing the ladder.

"If you keep your hand on the rail of the escalator, you'll have a nice ride to the top. It's as simple as that. And for some people, that's great," said Chris Wanden, who left an executive position at Discovery Channel to found Singapore coffee chain Dimbulah Coffee. But he added, for others, "It's in the DNA. At some point, you've got to recognize it."

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He believes people leave the corporate world for three reasons: "One is because they're tired of the (office politics) down the corridor. Two is because they have an absolute passion about something and they just feel this unbelievable drive to go out and make it happen. And three is because they see an opportunity, a gap in the market, and they believe they can pull the resources together and make it happen."

He added, "For me, all three happened at the same."

That's a view shared by a lot of corporate employees. Accenture's 2013 survey of 800 corporate employees in the U.S.