Sometimes it’s lonely at the top. As founder of Chief Executive Forum (CEF), Larry Pollock brings together Detroit-area chief executives to discuss issues they face in business in a turf-less, competitor-free setting.

The discussions are frank, objective, and confidential, dealing largely with the risks and challenges that “wake you up at 2 a.m.”, says Pollock, a member of the Skyline Club near Detroit, which has served as a meeting spot for the group.

Pollock facilitates two CEF groups, mostly from service and manufacturing sectors, with no more than 15 executives, who run small to mid-sized Detroit-area companies or divisions with annual sales between $2 million and $200 million. A third group, the CEO Exchange, offers the same opportunity to company heads, partners, or managers who run companies or divisions with annual sales between $200 million and $4 billion. Each group gathers for half a day, nine times a year. Pollock meets with each executive beforehand to set a personalized agenda.

Issues are often diverse, but specific, tackling such topics as management succession, employee compensation, partnership troubles, balancing personal and professional obligations, or a common hot button – dealing with the Motor City’s changing economic climate.

For many of these busy business people, the forum offers a much-needed sanity check. “These executives feel relieved to hear people tell it like it is”, Pollock says.

Helen Bond, Private Clubs Magazine, January/February 2006


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