Jamie Dimon, CEO of the New York headquartered JPMorgan Chase, addressed an issue a few years ago that the employees of Under Armour, ServiceNow, and SAP might find relevant right now. That issue was how to impress a new CEO in a first meeting. Those three companies saw what has been termed by some as “CEO musical chairs” in late October.
Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank announced that he would step aside from the CEO role at the company he founded, and COO Patrick Frisk would assume the position. John Donahoe of ServiceNow is moving to Nike, and Bill McDermott of SAP is switching to ServiceNow. All of these moves make for plenty of opportunities people at these companies and those who do business with these companies to have to get acquainted with a new CEO.
What Jamie Dimon, who has established himself as a noted name in New York and beyond, had to say about impressing a new CEO was fairly simple. That is to read what the CEO has written. This is the advice that he gave business students, and it applies to interviewees on up.
When people are doing their homework, one of the obvious things is to read the Chairman’s letter. Jamie Dimon sees that as “basic stuff.”
Beyond that, people looking to impress the CEO should read any books he or she has written. For Bill McDermott who is taking on the CEO role at ServiceNow, the book is Winners Dream. In the case Patrik Frisk, and Kevin Plank before him, there isn’t a book. However, there is a lot of material available regarding Kevin Plank and the founding of Under Armour.
If there isn’t a book written by the CEO, there are other options. Shareholder letters, papers, blogs, and LinkedIn posts can all give insight into the CEO. Books written by others mentioning the CEO or company can also offer insights; such is the case for Under Armour and Kevin Plank.