The Psychopathic CEO

“Psychopathic CEOs are chameleons, able to disguise their ruthlessness and antisocial behavior under the veneer of eloquence”  Jack McCullough, Founder & President, CFO Leadership Council is a regular contributor to Forbes.  An excerpt’s below.

“He is a charismatic leader who inspires people to follow him. A strategic thinker who can master the details. A tireless worker with incredible focus and problem-solving skills. He is well-liked by his employees but is also able to make and execute unpopular decisions. Above all, he is an exceptional communicator who can convey a vision to any audience, from Wall Street to the most junior employee.” 

The quote above could describe an ideal CEO. But it’s actually a portrait of a corporate psychopath, provided by a law enforcement official who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to publicly comment. People with psychopathy crave power and dominant positions, experts say. But they are also chameleons, able to disguise their ruthlessness and antisocial behavior under the veneer of charm and eloquence. In the most extreme, clinical, cases those traits have allowed serial killers to elude capture.

But when it comes to the corporate world, non-violent, corporate psychopaths are not running from the law, but instead, rushing to the executive suite. One route to grabbing power for the highly intelligent psychopath is to climb the corporate ladder. There is a real chance that at some point a chief financial officer will be confronted with a psychopathic boss. Roughly 4% to as high as 12% of CEOs exhibit psychopathic traits, according to some expert estimates, many times more than the 1% rate found in the general population and more in line with the 15% rate found in prisons.   Read more.

About Jack McCullough

Jack McCullough is a recognized thought leader in the field of financial leadership, with a career that has included CFO positions at 26 companies. He founded the CFO Leadership Council, a global organization dedicated to empowering senior financial executives through innovative professional development programs and peer networking. His other accomplishments include chairing the MIT Sloan CFO Summit, and creating the vision behind CFO Week, a one-of-a-kind learning and networking experience jointly executed by the CFO Leadership Council and MIT Sloan. He is a contributor to Forbes.com, where he writes for the CFO Network on challenges and opportunities facing financial leaders.  He is an entertaining and insightful public speaker, and has spoken to thousands of CFOs, and is frequently contacted by members of the media who appreciate his candor, insight and wit.  Learn more about Jack McCullough at https://cfoleadershipcouncil.com/jack-mccullough-president/

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About The CFO Leadership Council
The CFO Leadership Council offers both live & online programs that feature expert panels and interactive sessions that drive meaningful conversation and leadership development among our membership. Our collection of leadership development resources similar to this article contain pragmatic insights and advice sourced directly from our members and industry experts.  Recordings of CFOLC webcasts are made available to our current CFOLC Premium & Virtual members. To learn about membership options and CFO Week, visit www.cfolc.com.

The CFO Leadership Conference “CFO Masterclass”
The CFO Leadership Council’s 10th annual national conference “CFO Masterclass” is being held May 11-12, 2020 and is designed to be all about the CFO.  It will explore what you need to be a Masterclass CFO in today’s fast-paced disruptive world.  This year includes two full days of programming – roundtable discussions, inspiring keynotes, and expert-led interactive panels crafted to dig deep into key leadership areas.  Sessions include Mastering The New Executive Leader, Mastering Finance’s New Model, Mastering Delivery Of Company Strategy & more.  Network and learn alongside 400+ of your peers across North America. NASBA Certified CPE Offered.  Best discounted prices available now until January 31st.  Reserve your seat today. www.cfolcconference.com

​MIT CFO Accelerating Growth Through Leadership Executive Program
CFO Week continues with a three-day “CFO Accelerator” program custom-designed by MITSEE for the CFO Leadership Council community.  This advanced learning is ideal for high growth company CFOs looking to enhance your ability to lead your rapidly evolving company.  It will be lead by MIT faculty and other experts on May 15-17, 2019 and held right on the MIT campus.  Seats are extremely limited as the classroom is kept small (44 seats).  This promises to once again be a one-of-a-kind experience for the greater CFO community.

You can select to attend one event or both.  Speakers and agenda are being updated weekly.  To learn more or reserve your seat, visit www.cfolcconference.com.

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