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The Corporate Governance of Iconic Executives

Tom C. W. Lin

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law


87 Notre Dame Law Review 351 (2011)

This essay explores the special corporate governance challenges posed by iconic executives. Iconic executives are complex, bittersweet figures in corporate governance narratives. They are alluring, larger-than-life corporate figures who often govern freely. Iconic executives frequently rule like monarchs over their firms, offering lofty promises to shareholders, directors, and managers under their reign. But like many stories of powerful and influential figures, the narratives of iconic executives also contain adversity and danger. Part of the acquiescence and enchantment with such figures is rooted in the virtuous promises embodied by their presence, promises of unity, accountability, and effectiveness in corporate governance. Unfortunately, for many shareholders, these promises turn out to be illusory, empty, and full of peril. The threatening hollowness of such promises exists because the virtues of unity, accountability, and effectiveness pledged by iconic executives also contain the vices of excessive deference, overconfidence, and licentiousness. Given such dangerous duplicity, this essay calls for greater governance of iconic executives.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

Keywords: corporate governance, executives, CEO, corporate law, corporations, management

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Date posted: April 16, 2012 ; Last revised: October 8, 2013

Suggested Citation

Lin, Tom C. W., The Corporate Governance of Iconic Executives (2011). 87 Notre Dame Law Review 351 (2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2040922

Contact Information

Tom C. W. Lin (Contact Author)
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )
1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.temple.edu/Pages/Faculty/TomLinMain.aspx
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