One or the Other


When a CEO resigns from their position, it is usually assumed there is a scandal at bay and that it is only a matter of time until the curtain is pulled and the truth is unveiled. With front stories stating one thing or another to mask whatever the darker and scandalous reason is, everyone knows it is never the truth. In the case of PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian, it was his 10-year-old daughter.

As the former CEO of a trillion dollar company, El-Erian stepped down after his daughter listed 22 things he had missed in her life as a reason why she refused to listen to him. As one can imagine, holding such an esteemed and high position in a company would demand more time than can be imagined and ultimately leads to missed family moments. El-Erian’s story went viral and appraisal came from all.

We often times see women holding both a work and family life and asked whether they should be taking more time to spend on their family, while men hold their corporate positions without being asked once about the impact it has on their family or if they should step down. The debate and discussion around a work-family balance seems to be shifting from purely a female concern to something that should be a concern for both sexes equally.

The demand for ones time as they climb the corporate ladder is undoubtedly troubling. In the case of El-Erian’s, it was bad enough that his 10-year-old daughter appeared to already be resenting him for the excessive time spent with his job rather than with his family. The question still remains whether it is possible to balance a high power position while still maintaining a healthy family life? Is it possible to make all of the soccer games and dance recitals and still maintain such a high volume career? It seems to become a game of weighting the losses against one another, a double edged sword, what will cause the least damage. Will the outcome be worse if you miss your daughter’s birthday party or a client meeting? Questions that parents shouldn’t have to ask themselves seem to be leading to missed family moments as the demand and expectations of CEO parents goes up.

Though it appears that there will never be a true balance between a high volume career and family life, the general consensus seems to be that those who chose family didn’t seem to regret it.


Stampler, Laura. “CEO of Trillion-Dollar Company Resigned After His Daughter Told Him How Much He Has Missed,” 26, Sept. 2014. Accessed 7 October 2014.

One thought on “One or the Other

  1. I think this is a really important topic that a lot of people don’t think of when they think about CEO’s and other high-ranking executives. They see their wealth and their success in the limelight, but never what is happening behind the scenes in their family life. I have experience with this issue seeing as one of my best friends is the son of a successful CEO. When I first met him and his father they seemed perfectly normal and happy, but I later learned that his father’s absence due to his work schedule greatly impacted my friend in his childhood, and left the family with serious issues. So I definitely think it is crucial for executives to try and find a balance because they will eventually retire from their jobs, but not from their families.


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