When Should a Founder Say Goodbye to his/her Start-up?

Source | Entrepreneur

When Jules Ostin (played by Anne Hathaway) was asked to hang up her boots as a CEO in the movie The Intern, it broke many hearts. But, a logical move it was.

While Jules stayed put in reel life, in real life many entrepreneurs do actually give up their founder and CEO positions after a certain stage, making way for an experienced person to take over for the betterment of the company.

Be it RedBus or ZivameUber or TVF, from decisions made out of honest intentions to those forced by the management, we have seen multiple examples of founders letting go of their chairs in India, too.

The Conundrum of being a Founder

Being a founder is not an easy job, it takes passion coupled with patience. Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder of Droom and e-commerce website Shopclues, spoke about the various reasons why a founder often gives up his/her position.

“A founder is typically a visionary who has a long-term approach and is obsessed with bringing about a change to something in particular. A professional CEO comes into the picture when a founder wants to implement his vision. Often, even though a founder is product-driven, he/she has to look after many other things. From hiring to firing, there are lots of other things that need attention. So the product-focussed founder either hires a very efficient Chief Operating Officer (COO) or opts for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) so that he has time to do what he does the best,” said Aggarwal.

As a company grows, the want of a professional CEO is more acutely felt. “From a single-person to a 50,000-employee company — as an organization grows, it becomes easier if a professional CEO is looking after the other things. You give your heart, blood, and sweat to an idea and then you might want to take it easy, so even then a CEO is hired. Another reason is founders like the first few years of the start-up, its nascent-stage challenges drive them. As things become organized and the compnay starts functioning smoothly, they get bored. After all, doing repetitive work is not in a founder’s DNA, for he/she is someone who’s constantly challenging the status quo,” added Aggarwal.

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