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Morton Wile is about to retire as CEO of Multiplex Systems. For several years

he has been grooming L. Carson Adams as his successor. Adams has held the

posts of executive vice president and chief operating officer, and his performance

has been exemplary in those positions. Wile has long been convinced

that Adams will make an excellent CEO. But, as his retirement date approaches,

Wile has recently been hearing questions about his choice. Several

division vice presidents and members of the board of directors have asked him

privately how wise it is to allow Adams to take over, since (it is whispered) he

has long had a high-profile extramarital affair with his secretary and is rumored

to be an alcoholic. How, they wonder, can he be chosen to assume the top

leadership position when he carries such personal baggage? Wile is loathe to

talk to Adams about these matters because he does not want to police anyone’s

personal life. But he is sufficiently troubled to think about initiating an executive

search for a CEO candidate from outside the company.