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Jabil's outgoing CEO tackles a new challenge: self-discovery

After a quarter century devoted to building up a global manufacturing giant — and a dozen years as its top dog — outgoing Jabil Circuit CEO Tim Main is looking forward to a monthslong sabbatical of sorts. A period of self-discovery.

As much me-time one can have, that is, with a set of 7-year-old twins running around his household.

Main, 55, is planning a clean break. He had a hands-off style as a manager and will remain that way as CEO emeritus.

He doesn't plan to maintain an office in Jabil's headquarters; he'll be a phone call away for the new CEO, Mark Mondello, but won't be around other than for board meetings as he becomes board chairman. "I'll have to find some new friends," he laughs.

"I'm not going to have any problems letting go," he said in an interview with the Times. "My challenge will be: 'What do I do?' "

"When you're the leader of an organization, you end up intertwining your own identity with the organization and defining yourself in terms of the role you had."

In the short term, Main and his wife, Donna, will enjoy family and travel, spending more time at their summer home in Michigan. He doesn't consider himself much of a hobbyist, though he likes playing guitar and playing golf.

Longer term? That's a tougher question.

He isn't seeking quick-hit investments, witnessing how other retiring executives have been burned before. Whatever he does will likely involve manufacturing. He enjoys making things, seeing the end product of his work.

Main has a few parting words of advice for his successor: Focus on two or three priorities and trust your managers to do their jobs. And though Jabil has gravitated to a system of promoting and developing managers from within, Main cautioned that the company has to constantly look for solutions and role models outside its walls.

"We don't drink our own Kool-Aid so much that we think we have all the answers," he said.

Jabil's outgoing CEO tackles a new challenge: self-discovery 03/02/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 2, 2013 9:00pm]
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