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BMW CEO faints on stage

BMW CEO Harald Krueger says he’s doing fine, a day after he collapsed during a news conference at the Frankfurt auto show.

He supposedly fell backwards within the first five minutes of the presentation and was immediately attended to by his staff. The 49-year-old was then examined by a doctor, who advised him to cancel his appointments for the rest of the day, including a round table with journalists.

As reported by the FT and The Associated Press, of the few things we know about his collapse, before he took to the stage: he had recently had a heavy travel schedule and was not feeling well before the presentation – but decided to go ahead.

Was it the right decision however? Well, it was certainly understandable – he is a new chief executive due to speak at his home motor show – so cancelling would have looked bad.

Whether we shall ever find out precisely what triggered his collapse seems unlikely, though. Companies remain coy about their senior executives’ health.

It is unusual, for example, for boards to admit that their senior executives are exhausted: after all, they appointed the men and women in charge. It is still almost unheard of for directors to link episodes of chief executive fatigue to stress.

Certain high-profile companies have agreed to allow their CEOs time off to recover from the effects of pressure — notably Lloyds Banking Group, with António Horta-Osório in 2011, and Akzo Nobel, with Ton Büchner in 2012. Both men continue to head their respective companies.

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