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CEO Quits to Spend Time With Family—Really

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  • CEO Quits to Spend Time With Family—Really

    Dave Yost with his wife, Jean, at their home in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

    We've all heard about chief executives who jumped for the exit while offering this timeworn excuse: "I'm resigning because I want to spend more time with my family."

    Bad earnings, an investigation or something worse generally follows. Groupon's GRPN +0.66% Andrew Mason saved us from cynicism when he sent this message to his staff in May: "After 4½ intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding—I was fired today." The reason, he openly admitted, was the company's poor performance.

    Mr. Mason joined a long list. In 2012 about 11% of CEOs in the S&P 500 left office, and almost a third of the departures were "nonvoluntary," says the Conference Board.

    But what about the CEO who actually does want to hang with the spouse and kids—who really did leave to spend more time with his or her family?

    Meet Dave Yost, former CEO of the drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen, ABC +1.51% which is 29th in revenue on the Fortune 500 list of companies. In 2011, with earnings flying high, Mr. Yost, then 63 years old, said he was done.

    "There are many things I'd like to do with my wife, my family and my grandchildren," he told employees. He had been CEO for 14 years and might have continued for many more, or retained a seat on the board, or hovered over the company as executive chairman.

    "I had my shot and it was great," says Mr. Yost. "But I was running out of ideas. You get a bit hamstrung by your own success. Maybe you don't take risks. It's hard to admit, but it's time for the next set of guys. CEOs who stick around stifle upward mobility."

    So, after more than a year grooming a successor, Mr. Yost packed up and moved out.

    He says that events since then have proved him right. The new CEO has done deals "I wouldn't have been comfortable doing." AmerisourceBergen shares, which traded at a split- and merger-adjusted price of about $5 when Mr. Yost became CEO, reached $41 a share by the time he left. They now trade at $61. In recognition of his own work, Mr. Yost this year was named one of the world's "100 Best CEOs" by the Harvard Business Review.

    And what about spending more time with the family?

    Mr. Yost, who lives outside Philadelphia, has three grown daughters and three grandsons. He took his sons-in-law on a fishing trip this summer. He stayed at the family's Avalon, N.J., beach house for 15 days in July. He and his wife just returned from a week in Maine with a group of friends. And they've ramped up volunteer work with the Air Force Academy, his alma mater. "I never did that stuff when I was working," he says.

    "We had never in over 40 years of marriage had unstructured lives," adds his wife, Jean. "We do things together now and also allow each other independent time and pursuits."

    More at Link
    May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
    Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
    And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
    may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.