Powerful CEOs become wildly successful because they learn how to analyze data properly, devoid of irrational emotion, and they learn how to build strong teams by placing people in positions that match their talents.
So how would a CEO go about selecting a President of the United States?
First, he’d look at the productivity numbers of potential industry backgrounds of candidates. In the last 100 years, the US has had two explicitly CEO/businessman presidents: Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush. Economic growth and productivity advancements were horrific under each president. Both Presidents are on most lists of “worst Presidents of the last 100 years.”
Next, the CEO would look for the background characteristics of presidents widely considered to have been highly successful: Reagan, Eisenhower, FDR and Clinton. The one thing they all had in common is that they had no business experience and spent their professional lives working in government (Eisenhower, FDR, Clinton) or in the communications arts/community (Hollywood) organizing field (Reagan).
Next, the CEO would look for more immediate case studies to see if any new trends had emerged regarding political talent. The most high profile CEO businessman to reach electoral success recently at the federal and state level has been former Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine. When given a position to run a whole state, Corzine was my most accounts, not very successful. In facts, the vast majority of CEOS who weighed in on the choice between Corzine and his opponent, a lifelong government worker/politician with no business experience, decided to support Chris Christy, the candidate who had studied law and was a creature of government.
Next, the CEO might look at the particular records of the applicants for President. Mitt Romney has a clear-cut record regarding his abilities in job creation as an executive running a government entity. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney came in 47th out of 50 states, the bottom decile in terms of performance. Clearly, an "F minus_ grade on any bell curve.
Barack Obama, as an executive, presided over an economy where unemployment went from 10% to nearly 8%, a net gain of more than 3 million jobs. More jobs were desired, but his record thus far warrants at least the grade of “C.”
So who would a savvy CEO select to run the United States of America? What would he say to the application of Mitt Romney? He would likely say “Mr. Romney there is nothing in your background, credentials or accomplishments to suggest that you would be even minimally competent at the job of being President of the United States. Picking you for this position would be as irrational as hiring a world class figure skater to be my Chief Financial Officer or hiring an NBA MVP to be my chief research scientist—a complete miss-match. We might have a position for you as Ambassador to France—please check back with us in 6 months.”
The CEO's next step would be to identify who had been successful at the job in the past in terms of creating huge employment and productivity gains for the country and who was still alive and healthy. This would lead the CEO to conclude that they only logical choice for the position of President would be to hire Bill Clinton, the only person in the last quarter century who presided over the country in an economically successful manner.
When told about a constitutional technicality that would preclude Clinton from being placed in the job and that the only two finalists for the job were Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the CEO’s response would be “this is the easiest decision I’ve made all year. Every single data point and every shred of evidence indicates Romney would be an unmitigated disaster as President; Obama possesses every characteristic for the position to suggest he could be good or even great for this position. I can’t imagine any intelligent CEO selecting Romney over Obama.”