Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Leadership Change at Harvard

Consider this description of a great, visionary leader:
[He] is a voracious reader of science and history who questions subordinates relentlessly about their projects, she says. "If he respects you, he'll argue with you. If not, he ignores you," she says. "If he says, 'That's stupid,' it means he cares" about a project, she adds.

When I read that passage in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, I thought, "Yes, that captures the Larry Summers I know perfectly."

It wasn't written about Larry, however. It was written about Bill Gates. Apparently, the personality attributes that work well for an entrepreneur and CEO don't work nearly as well for a university president.

Larry has only a few days left as President of Harvard. The friends and fans of Larry, a group in which I include myself, are looking forward to finding out what his next act will be. How about President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Bill and Larry would get along swimmingly.