Mastering the Corporate Pyramid
by John Decker
January 2016, 270pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4016-6
$53, £40, 46€, A72
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4017-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Being a CEO is a double-edged sword: it’s a position that comes with both high compensation and a high risk of termination.

How does a good CEO deliver value? An ideal resource for all aspiring executives, this book provides a comprehensive portrait of the CEO's role and a clearly defined roadmap for acquiring the skill set of a successful CEO.

There is a critical and growing need for effective and enlightened leadership in the private sector. The corporate world needs CEOs who can build companies, exceed customer expectations, address the needs of the world’s growing population, and deliver superior value to investors. CEOs must balance on an incredibly difficult and challenging tightrope and apply a daunting range of skills and experience at the highest levels to do so. Over one third of all new CEOs are out within three years and many companies don’t achieve their full potential due to lack of leadership talent.

CEO: Mastering the Corporate Pyramid shines a spotlight on what CEOs actually do, identifies the skills necessary to do the job, and explains how to develop these skills for anyone aspiring to the executive suite as well as those considering starting or buying a business. It supplies a unique and powerful roadmap for career success and increases the chances for an aspiring CEO to make it to the top and survive and thrive in the position.


  • Written by an author who has extensive experience advising senior executives and who has interviewed multiple CEOs for this book
  • Offers a practical action plan and career suggestions based on real-world experience that will increase the likelihood that someone can reach a CEO-level position
  • Presents a unique, clear, and comprehensive picture and model of the CEO position that aspiring executives can use to quickly evaluate whether their aspirations are realistic or not
  • Provides fascinating insights on what CEOs actually do—valuable information for anyone who has to deal with CEOs in their work environment or is simply curious about what the role of CEO entails
John Decker is an executive career consultant and partner at MDL Partners in Wellesley, MA. He has extensive experience advising senior executives on career transition challenges including those involving startups and business acquisitions. He was formerly a senior human resources executive with a focus on management and executive development, succession planning, and executive recruiting. He has worked with executives in virtually every industry and functional specialty and has presented on career management issues to many MBA alumni associations, including Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as well as to multiple professional associations and executive job search groups. Decker holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in industrial administration from Union College.


“John Decker’s insights are an express elevator to the top for aspiring CEOs.”—Mike Lorelli, Executive Chairman, Rita’s Italian Ices

“No matter how good you think you are, no matter how prepared you are, you need a coach. Every world class athlete has a coach. Federer and Spieth are not above asking for assistance to be better at what they do. CEOs are no different. It is a lonely tough job. Think of John’s book as a personal coach. Embrace it!” —Chris Greendale, Founder and CEO, Cloud Technology Partners

“Having been a client of John Decker for a number of years, I find his advice to be spot on. Not doing what he recommends is like buying a dog and then barking yourself.” —Norman Strate, Chairman, Trenergi

“I have worked with and advised a large number of CEOs and boards of major American corporations. I believe this book captures the skills these top performing CEOs actually demonstrate and provides a clear roadmap for building them on the way to the top.” —Chuck Bauer, CEO, Affluent Nations, LLC, former vice chairman, PWC

“I have been using the concepts presented in this book to successfully accelerate the careers of high potential individuals. This is an important and very insightful book, and one you can personally use to accelerate your own development. It should be required reading for anyone planning their professional business career.”—Jim MacDonald, President, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments

“This is an important read for any future or newly appointed CEO who wishes to benefit from the author’s years of coaching and counseling CEOs. The book provides a clear picture of the many challenges a CEO faces in today’s business environment and offers relevant, cogent advice on how to make tenure at the top a success.”—Jim Micali, former chairman, Michelin North America
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