Here and gone: how organizational structure determines leader career shifts

by | Jul 20, 2020 | Leading Organizations, Lindy Greer

In an opinion piece in today’s Automotive News regarding Barry Engle’s departure from General Motors (GM), Sanger Faculty Director and Associate Professor Lindy Greer was quoted on c-suite job searches and their relevance to organizational structures. Engle, Executive Vice President and President, GM North America, is an experienced executive who has been with GM for five years. He recently gave notice that he is departing the company to pursue a CEO position, something he’s held multiple times in the past. Dave Versical, the article’s author, notes that is unique for an automotive exec to “still [be] on the payroll while openly looking for another job.”

Professor Greer agreed the situation is distinct: “[F]or older, more bureaucratic organizations, a move like Engle’s is unusual.”

Not so with the start up world, which Professor Greer points out is rife with perpetual departures and hires. For start ups, “[t]he talent that fits an organization today may not be the right fit tomorrow … to have executives openly seeking positions elsewhere can be viewed more as a badge of honor than an embarrassment.”

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