The "Santa, CEO" Experience
Imagine you're Santa Claus.
years old, born from a starcrossed human-elf
tryst, and brimming with the magic of Christmas.
Towering over your elfin workforce, you
symbolize Christmas for them. Through the
centuries, wondering people have named you
again and again: Befana. Sinter Klaas.
Hagios Nikolaus. Joulupukki.
Now imagine that what
had once been a simple elf-and-sleigh operation,
a tiny toyshop nestled in the unreachable
North, has grown into a sprawling multinational
beast. Where once there was Santa, now there
are thousands of stand-in human "santas,"
each flying a delivery route and trying
to avoid duck hunters, navy pilots, and
weather balloons. Where once there was a
single magical reindeer team, now there
are half a million flying deer ranched worldwide.
Replace the simple toyshop with dozens of
factories, the handful of elves with thousands
of workers, elves and half-elves, in factories,
offices, and far-flung operations. Imagine
deals and contracts, mergers and acquisitions,
suppliers, goods in and out, aerial shipments
and just-in-time deliveries, training and
diversity programs, consultants and secret
Imagine you run the
largest gift manufacturing operation in
And it's not working.
You're consumed by a
business you no longer control.
to take the company public has created a
human Board seeking to declaw you. While
you're fending off the latest takeover bid
and trying to acquire a vulnerable competitor,
your company officers have teamed with scheming
elves in a plot to dethrone you, to merge
your company with Easter Industries, and
to dismantle much of your operation in the
name of progress and shareholder value.
Your jovial public image
belies your private, personal struggle.
You are three personalities: Santa Claus
to children everywhere, the Chief to your
workforce, and Samuel Claussen, public CEO
to business partners and media.
And none of them fit
Perhaps that's why your
wife of centuries abandoned you...
...to a business
that's eaten you to the point where neither
she nor you can find Santa anymore. Perhaps
that's why you no longer connect with the
elves you once knew, workers who have increasingly
become compartmentalized, marginalized in
function and value. Perhaps that's why your
programs no longer work, and even your magical
reindeer refuse to fly.
You're closer to destruction
than you realize.
Imagine all this; imagine,
too, a CEO who's lost his way, and you have
a hint of what's in store for you in "Santa,
You will journey with
a childhood icon you thought you knew...
places you didn't think possible. Your adventure
will span continents, invoke magic, and
expose both the light of Christmas and the
dark that challenges it.
Your image of Santa
will be forever altered.
of business will be shaken.
And while you
may laugh at times, you will also be deeply
moved by the efforts of those who, despite
all odds, struggle to preserve the magic
Told with both humor and high drama, Santa, CEO will
take into large cities and small towns,
into factories and street carnivals, on jet planes and sleigh
rides, on poky work wagons and wild speed-sled chases - a sweeping,
swirling ride through a business world out of control, which
is itself a reflection of the harried times in which we all live.
This book isn't for
It's certainly not for the rapid-fire
reader content to skim today's complex business
issues. But it most certainly is for that
reader who tops the newspaper's business
section with a dollop of Dilbert, that reader
who believes that despite the fractious
noise of the daily grind there may yet be
deep magic underpinning our frantic world.
© 2004 David Soubly