Are You Too Young—or Too Old—to Be a CEO?
James M. Citrin
Experience and the kind of personality that lends itself to becoming a strong cultural fit within an organization are more important than ethnicity—or almost anything else—when choosing a leader. Where someone is born, even what language someone speaks, should not necessarily restrict one’s ability to fit in. A person’s ability to understand a particular market and be an inspiring and effective leader can be universal. Indeed, a candidate’s personality and experience—less the number of years in a given industry than her direction, ambition, and accomplishments—trump everything else when it comes to tapping new members of the C-suite. At the least, it’s important to be aware of our natural assumptions about what a new CEO or CFO, and her résumé, should look like—and to be ready to discount or even dismiss those assumptions as irrelevant.