Chapter 5 Case Study: What CEOs Say

Use this case study as a discussion prompter with your teams or students.


Bobby Rossco was a well-known and accomplished artist who specialized in painting skyscapes. He gained great popularity, and financially he had a greater income than he ever dreamed. He looked for areas to invest his finances and ended up joining other investors in founding a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The SPAC went public in order to raise additional capital so they could acquire a business start-up. His SPAC soon began negotiations to join with a drone company, Skyscape Art, that among other things, specialized in taking pictures of skyscapes and converting them to artwork, so that the pictures appeared to be paintings.


Rossco could not believe his luck in finding a company that aligned with his history as a painter. The other investors agreed that they could not imagine their good fortune by having Bobby on their team. They thought that when the company would go public, the stock would go ballistic! This was truly thought to be a ground-floor opportunity.


Rather than implementing a search for top leadership, the other investors insisted that Bobby be installed as the founding CEO. Bobby quickly accepted and began choosing his management team. He was able to hire several experienced drone company professionals. Bobby was excited that he was able to hire such seasoned veterans. He also hired a few individuals who had painting and art backgrounds, and so he believed that he had a very diverse group of people with different backgrounds. He felt he had the necessary chemistry with them, they all communicated well with him, and they were all big fans of his work.


Upon the company’s initial months, there were big returns. Despite generally favorable market conditions and Bobby’s popularity, the organization’s market share price after three months began dropping badly. Many of the investors noted that the stock began underperforming, and they started to question Bobby’s leadership. When discussing his leadership, they could not put their finger on any underlying problem.


Even Bobby questioned his own hiring practices and wondered how he could have done things differently. He took personal pride in being part of the interviewing process for each candidate. He felt that those hired were smart and experienced individuals with great potential. He can’t imagine how he could have done things differently.


Questions to Consider

  1. Discuss the possible mistakes the investors initially made in choosing Bobby for the CEO position, and what could have been done differently.

  2. With the limited information given, elaborate on what you believe were mistakes that Bobby made in hiring his management team, and include what you believe he could have done better.

  3. Given the concepts in this chapter, such as leadership potential, leadership blueprint. Explain how IMPLs could have been utilized as a criterion in hiring Skyscape Art’s leaders.