Many entrepreneurs prefer big-picture thinking to managing a million little details. But David Neeleman, the recently deposed CEO of JetBlue, takes the cake. In today's Wall Street Journal, Neeleman says that being bumped upstairs to the position of nonexecutive chairman was fine with him because "I don't necessarily like running stuff."
Elsewhere in the article, reporters Susan Carey and Paulo Prada quote an unnamed source as saying that Neeleman was at first "taken aback" by the JetBlue's board's decision to replace him as CEO, but then he came to recognize "the wisdom of this." As the article explains, he fancies himself a true serial entrepreneur—this is his fourth venture—and he has ADD, so staying for too long at one company isn't really for him.
I have to say, I was amazed to hear an accomplished entrepreneur sound so blasé about giving up control of his company, especially so soon after that winter storm fiasco, which he worked so hard to bounce back from. What do you think? Isn't "running stuff" sort of the whole point of being an entrepreneur? Or do you think it makes some sense for Neeleman step aside to let the detail-oriented people take over?
Last updated: May 11, 2007
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman