I don't want to get Dooced, here. So I'm going to tell you a fairy tale.
Imagine you are one of three original founders/operators of a successful business, now in its 18th year. Five years ago, you took on outside investors for the first time, buying out one of the original founders, and giving up majority control of the company to the venture capitalists. A couple of golden years ensue; profits are made and growth occurs.
Imagine that then a recession hits. The company you founded provides a business service that is sensitive to economic vagaries, and business takes a 40-45% hit. As CEO, you struggle with decisions that will keep the company alive -- salary cuts, expense elimination -- without gutting the company's ability to recover when times get flush.
Imagine that you manage to steer this company and its weary, battered staff into safe shoals for 2010. Imagine the entire company taking a collective deep breath of relief as 2010 starts off with stronger numbers than you've seen in over a year.
Then imagine that your partners, the majority owners, make a surprise visit to the corporate offices to tell you that your services as CEO are no longer required, effective immediately.
My job is secure, for now. A new CEO has been brought in to "drive growth" so that our investors can turn around and sell the company in a year or two. The writing is on the wall, though, and I'm coming to work everyday with a lump in my stomach.
Anybody need a CFO?