The Problem with Rockstar CEOs

August 23, 2023

Many high-profile companies these days are reflections of their superstar CEOs – people like Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon. Author Thomas Keil suggests that although they may be good for branding, just like regular rock stars, they can’t truly do it alone.

His new book, co-authored with Marianna Zangrillo, is entitled The Next Leadership Team: How to Select, Build, and Optimize Your Top Team, and is available at Amazon and elsewhere.

Thomas Keil, D.Sc. (Tech.)

Thomas professional aim is to bridge the divide between academia and practice.

He is a Full Professor at the University of Zurich, Switzerland where he teaches strategy and international management. Thomas holds a D.Sc. (Tech.) and Lic. Tech. from Helsinki University of Technology and a Dipl. Wirtsch. Ing from TH Darmstadt. Previously he taught at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Canada and at Aalto University in Finland.

Thomas’ research focuses on the senior leader’s agenda in multinational corporations, specifically board design, CEO succession, leadership teams, transformation, mergers and acquisitions, and strategy. His research has won several awards and has been published in leading practitioner journals, including the Harvard Business Review and the MIT Sloan Management Review in addition to top academic journals.

Thomas is a partner in The Next Advisors a consulting firm advising CEOs, executives, and boards of small and large corporations across a wide range of industries. As an internationally recognized authority on CEO, leadership, and strategy topics, he has taught executives from Asia, Europe, and North America and is a regular keynote speaker.

Marianna Zangrillo, D.Sc. (Tech.)

Born in 1974, Marianna is a transformational leader, a business angel and an author.

She has spent the past 20 years working in senior roles across industries, where she has been driving significant transformation initiatives to drive operational excellence, higher ROI and increased corporate performance. In those roles, Marianna has led teams and projects in Europe, Middle East, Asia and North America.

Marianna has been teaching at leading European universities including Aalto University and the University of Zurich and has been a keynote speaker at various practitioners’ conferences.

In addition, she has conducted research on boards, CEO succession, leadership teams, and board design which has been published in MIT Sloan Management Review, LSE Business Review, I by IMD, her book “The Next CEO” and her new book “The Next Leadership Team”.

Marianna holds a Master of Laws (Italy, 1999), a LLM in Contract and Commercial Law (Finland, 2000), a MBA in International Management (U.K., 2005) and a PhD in Supply Chain Management (Finland, 2017).

Marianna is a partner in The Next Advisors where she advises to CEOs, executives, and boards members in multiple industries.