New book explains why some presidencies “derail”

October 31, 2013

A new book by 2 former university presidents and a public policy professor from the US discusses why presidencies sometimes fail within the first couple of years. Presidencies Derailed, by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Gerald Kauvar and E. Grady Bogue, examines several “derailed presidencies” and suggests 6 factors that cover the various cases they studied: ethical lapses, such as affairs or expense scandals; poor interpersonal skills; failing in leading strong, cohesive groups of senior staff to support their administration; difficulty adapting to the culture or administrative style of an institution; failing to meet hefty goals; and board of governors' shortcomings that keep the president from being successful. The book also offers advice to newly-appointed university presidents “on how to avert a train wreck.” “The suggestions aren’t startling – just good management and recruitment procedures – but the tales the authors have accumulated show they are often what is missing,” says reviewer Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail review. Globe and Mail