While top U.S. CEOs share traits such as being reliable and decisive, according to a recent study, former Yahoo and Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz argues that chief executives can also be really boring.
"I'll say three things. They either have that as a basic personality. Two, they've been advised to be as benign as possible. Or three, they are scared," Bartz told Freakonomics podcast host Stephen Dubner on an episode that aired this week.
Though Bartz was previously one of only a few female CEOs in tech, she was notably booted from Yahoo in 2011. After nearly three years of trying to turn the company around, Bartz was controversially fired over the phone by Yahoo's chairman.
When Dubner noted how CEOs tend to come off "as uninteresting and unrevealing, almost as inhuman as possible" when they speak in public, Bartz said the executives might not be entirely at fault.
"I think they have bad advisers," Bartz said about CEOs, although she later added she doesn't "buy any of that."
"People want to know where you stand, where your company stands, what you stand for, where you're going," she said.