Are Greenspan And Others Still "Hogging" Spotlight?

Rainn Wilson
Rainn Wilson

What do you do if you are a corporate or political leader and your predecessor continues to gain media attention after retirement? Former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan has been sharing the spotlight with Ben Bernanke, who’s been chairman for more than a year. Once retired, should they just walk away quietly? Joe Mason, associate professor of finance at Drexel University and Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management debated the issue earlier today on "Morning Call."

Mason says it makes sense for some former executives to stay in the spotlight. Aside from self-promotion, Mason points out that former leaders should stay in the media spotlight if they want to be CEOs again. “It’s okay for former leaders to speak about their area of expertise”, said Mason. When asked about Greenspan, Mason said “Greenspan was a consultant before and so it makes sense for him to do it now”.

Sonnenfeld, who is also the co-author of “Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters”, says it is irresponsible to undermine a successor. He believes many are trying to recapture the stage. “Former leaders can remain engaged by giving advice in private”, said Sonnenfeld. According to Mason, some former leaders can’t speak because of confidentiality restraints. “Many of them have a quest for heroic immortality”, said Sonnenfeld.