Exit Strategy: Pepi II and the Problems of Longevity

The world’s longest-reigning monarch, the Egyptian pharaoh Pepi II, enjoyed the high esteem of his contemporaries — until he overstayed his welcome and in so doing helped bring about the end of one of Egypt’s most glorious and successful eras. His example holds a crucial lesson for modern leaders: timing your exit and grooming your successor are among the most important tasks any executive faces.

Queen Elizabeth II overtook the 63-year, 226-day reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria in September to become Britain’s longest-tenured royal, having first ascended to the throne in 1952. That’s an impressive length of time, no doubt. But the record for world’s longest-ruling monarch …

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