- February 1, 2016: Vol. 3, Number 2

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The Star System: What Bill Walsh, Julian Robertson, Larry Ellison and other superbosses have in common

by Mike Consol

Twenty of the NFL’s 32 head coaches trained under Bill Walsh of the San Francisco 49ers, or under someone in his coaching tree. Among hedge funds there are dozens of protégés of Julian Robertson, the founder of the investment firm Tiger Management, who have become top fund managers. From 1994 through 2004, nine of the 11 executives who worked closely with Oracle Corp. founder and CEO Larry Ellison went on to become CEOs, chairmen or COOs of other companies. Advertising legend Jay Chiat of Chiat/Day has many leaders in the ad trade, as has the great chef Alice Waters in the restaurant business.

How did these people attract and develop such talent? Sidney Finkelstein, a professor of management at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and author of the book Superbosses, has researched the subject and found similarities between these and other individuals who qualify as so-called superbosses. When hiring, they focus on intelligence, creativity and flexibility, rather

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