Citizen Kane

Study Guide 22: Succession

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Guide opening:

Charles Foster Kane (William Randolph Hearst, if you will) knew how to make a small fortune: he started with a large one. He left just enough behind at the end of his career so that level-headed controllers could manage his company back to prosperity and eventually create one of America’s most wealthy private companies. Kane never pretended to be a businessman, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great manager. He managed his money (all inherited) to his own ends, and much to the consternation of his traditional associates. When, for example, Kane is told that one of his newspapers has lost a million in the preceding year, he cavalierly notes that it will probably lose a million dollars in the coming year, as well, and millions more in the years beyond. And, he says, if the newspaper continues to lose money at that rate, he’ll still be able to publish it for 60 years!

Unfortunately, much of America wants to work for somebody like Citizen Kane: a boss with unlimited resources and no interest in profit. Of course, they’d also like that boss to be caring, devoted to the highest principles and ethical practices, to pay well and to provide generous benefits. In most cases, you only find that in the movies – but not in this one.

Summary of the commentary:

The commentary examines Kane’s leadership style; product integrity (his journalistic credo); the concept of fiduciary responsibility exemplified by his attorneys; the role of the firm; and, of course, the succession issues that are peculiar to private companies held in trust.

The commentary is supplemented by BREAKOUT BOXES dealing with these topics:

  • The Best Film of All (A Recap of the AFI Tribute to Citizen Kane)
  • The Real Citizen Kane (A Brief Bio with Picture of William Randolph Hearst)
  • Hearst Corporation Today (A Look at What Has Happened to the Real Business, Since WRH Died. It’s a Great Story!)
  • The Role of Profit

THE GUIDE also includes an essay that looks at business as depicted in the movies. For an introductory section on how to use the Management Goes to the Movies™ program, click through to Using The MGTTM Training Program.

This guide will soon be available for purchase as an instant download for $5.95.