Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When a CEO is forced out of a company, a lot of people hope and expect big changes. Much like Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride," those people are going to have to get used to disappointment.

Why it matters: It's big news when names like Dennis Muilenburg of Boeing and Travis Kalanick of Uber are forced out of their jobs. But that doesn't mean the company is going to change. The reality is that corporate cultures change slowly if at all.

  • How it works: Managers tend to like, hire and promote people with personalities similar to their own. Corporations therefore have a natural tendency towards monoculture.

The mystery of how and why Muilenburg held on to his job for as long as he did can be explained in large part by seeing him less as the cause of the problems at Boeing, and more as a symptom of a bottom-line-oriented corporate culture that dates back to the early 2000s.

  • Jerry Useem has an excellent explanation in The Atlantic of how Boeing's engineering-led culture was supplanted by McDonnell Douglas' finance-led culture after the companies merged in 1997. "The present 737 Max disaster can be traced back two decades," he writes.
  • When the Boeing board fired Muilenburg they replaced him with David Calhoun, a Blackstone financier who "studied accounting at Virginia Tech and began his career in GE’s corporate audit team," per the FT. He is very unlikely to change Boeing's cost-cutting culture, or even move its headquarters back to Seattle, where the company's planes are built.

Travis Kalanick has now fully severed his ties with Uber, selling all his stock in the company and stepping down from its board — but his influence in the company remains incredibly strong.

  • Kalanick's hand-picked board members, Ursula Burns and John Thain, remain on the company's board, while longtime Thain lieutenant Nelson Chai is CFO.
  • Change agent Bozoma Saint John, who was charged with reinventing the Uber brand, lasted only one year at the company.
  • CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was similarly tasked with rebooting the company. He has survived, partly because he is happy to make statements praising not only Kalanick but also Saudi Arabia's Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who's also on Uber's board. He also continues to claim with a straight face that Uber's drivers are not core to the company.

Adam Neumann hired almost everybody at WeWork on the basis that it was an exciting and fast-growing technology company rather than a fundamentally stodgy real-estate company. If it is now trying to concentrate on boring things like cash flows, it has a comically ill-suited employee base.

Roger Ailes, the founding CEO of Fox News, was fired in 2016 and died in 2017. Since then, the network has moved even further to the right, and plays a more important role than ever in Republican politics. The Ailes legacy, far from being repudiated, has been strengthened.

The bottom line: Most of the time, executive defenestrations are theatrical events designed to avoid true corporate accountability.

Go deeper: What to know about the Softbank fixers parachuting into WeWork

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.