Call it the curse of the chief executive.
Powerful, visionary chiefs can create billion-dollar brands. Steven Jobs at Apple and Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook are often-cited examples. But we’ve recently seen some illustrations in the takeover world of the dark side of the chief executive. Being powerful and visionary, or at least thinking you are, can lead corporate chieftains to great heights, but also to extreme narcissism. And the victims are often shareholders.
The trait is on display in the pending $2.7 billion buyout of the insurer Delphi Financial by Tokio Marine Holdings of Japan. The chief executive of Delphi Financial, Robert Rosenkranz, controls a 49.9 percent voting interest in the company. Despite restrictions in Delphi Financial’s charter, Mr. Rosenkranz demanded in negotiations that he be paid over $110 million more than other shareholders, a number that a special committee of Delphi Financial’s board negotiated down by about $50 million.