I’ve seen this happen so many times: the entrepreneur gets the company going and wants financing to push it to the next level, and the investors want the company but not the founder.
It’s not at all unusual, and it’s not as bad as it sounds either. The underlying problem is that growing a company often takes different skills and talents than starting a company.
BusinessWeek.com has a good story on that this week: An Entrepreneur Prepares to Pass the Torch, by Nick Leiber. It’s about Michelle White of Michelle’s Miracle:
It’s a classic dilemma. A first-time entrepreneur creates a thriving company from scratch with the potential to be The Next Big Thing, but her investors thinks she needs an experienced CEO and management team to take it there. They also bet future investors will want to see seasoned leaders in place.
It happens to a lot of people. My favorite example these days is Steve Jobs, who was kicked out of his post at Apple Computer in the 1980s to make way for John Sculley, who ran the company from the late 1980s to the early 90s. Then when Jobs came back to run the company again in the late 1990s, he brought it back from near death to prominence.
(Photo credit: that photo appears in the businessweek.com story online. You can click it to go to the original.)