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Top CEO Dies Clutching Magazine that Featured Him

Colman Mockler is considered today as the model of an effective CEO. A Harvard Business School graduate with an MBA, he had gone to work for Gillette Corporation and steadily worked his way up the ladder to CEO.

Although Gillette was 75 years old, Colman took the company to new heights of success. Under his management they came to dominate the market. After 16 years as CEO, Colman was at the top of the world. Forbes magazine had just put him on the cover of their next issue celebrating his leadership and success. The magazine wouldn't hit the newsstands for another week, but on the morning of January 25th, 1991 they had sent him an advance copy to review. The rest of the executives literally applauded him as he carried the magazine back to his office. In so many ways it was a fantastically good day for Colman.

Decades of hard work had brought him to this point. He had beaten back three hostile takeover bids and revolutionized the company. He had increased the value of the stock 50-fold. He was, literally, celebrated on the cover of the business world. And with millions in the bank, he had just announced that he would be retiring within a few months.

But there was one thing that made it an unexpectedly tragic day. With the staff applauding, Colman walked down the hall, stepped into his office, shut the door, and crumpled to the floor. Within moments he was dead of a massive heart attack, still clutching the Forbes magazine that featured him on the cover.

Possible Preaching Angles: Death; Life, short; Mortality—"Every single one of us is going to come to the end of our days. No matter how successful, powerful, or acclaimed, we will arrive there, just the same. And when you do it will seem to have come quicker than expected."

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