Chief Executives have to expect a certain amount of public humiliation. They may be chided about their salaries, disparaged for managing problems badly, or held responsible for the disappointments of employees and investors. Those are occupational hazards. Then there are the embarrassments that upend careers and relationships: getting fired, being passed over or pushed into irrelevance. Those are the experiences that can lead an executive to philanthropy, a new spiritual practice, or that most primal response, revenge.
These are stories of three executives: Two were asked to leave companies they helped create; the third was challenged from within. In the most dramatic telling, they were betrayed or tested by the people they most trusted and forced to find their own way. We don't even need to say they are motivated by revenge. Simple rivalry will do.
By Susan Berfield