Eric Gustafson, Founder/CEO Access Point Partners
Even taking a solitary dog walk in an empty town can remind us that we're living through history. Depending on the town, such a walk can offer historical examples. On such a walk, I passed the site of my once-in-a-search-career interview of a CEO candidate inside his home.
Fifteen years ago, a Warburg Pincus PE holding sought a post-acquisition CEO successor to the Founder/CEO. One leading candidate and I learned we lived just two miles apart so he invited me to his home instead of traveling to our New York City office.
I hadn't met in a candidate's home before and haven't since. It was one of the oldest in the state, having witnessed the Revolutionary War's "Battle of Ridgefield" where British and American troops fought and died twenty feet from the front door. Gen. Benedict Arnold commanded the victory.
Our interview room overlooked the battle site. It went well, he became the new CEO, and guided the business for years including to a successful exit. Under current circumstances, we'd meet via video technologies piped into his 1777 battle-surviving piece of American history. And, like this successful CEO, today's managers won't just survive as did this house with a battle on its doorstep, they'll be recognized as leaders and winners during and afterwards.
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