Serial Outsider Leadership: Coming in from the Cold?

  • Chris O’Riordan
  • Felicity Kelliher
  • Patrick C. Flood
  • Malcolm Higgs


The chapter examines a “serial outsider leader” (Fiacra Nagle) who has been an outsider on a number of occasions as a professional manager/CEO. After considering his early life and career, the chapter goes on to discuss the transition from outsider to insider and how this occurs gradually over time. Also contemplated is the value of balancing outsider hires with insider appointments, as well as how to effectively attain insider acceptance and address resistance. For an outsider, the merits of introducing systems and structures to help them to run the business are identified. The implications of a “returning outsider” are examined, as this creates a co-leadership context that can present challenges if not clearly demarcated. In addition, consideration is given as to the introduction of an outsider to an organisation that is already dealing with challenging times. The chapter ends with a conclusion and a reflection on its content.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris O’Riordan
    • 1
  • Felicity Kelliher
    • 1
  • Patrick C. Flood
    • 2
  • Malcolm Higgs
    • 3
  1. 1.School of BusinessWaterford Institute of TechnologyWaterfordIreland
  2. 2.DCU Business SchoolDublin City UniversityDublinIreland
  3. 3.Hull University Business SchoolUniversity of HullHullUK

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