Angel Agents: What We Can (and Cannot) Learn From Pierre Lefaucheux's Stewardship of Régie Renault

Mehrotra, Vikas
May 2011
Academy of Management Perspectives;May2011, Vol. 25 Issue 2, p14
Academic Journal
Case Study
In this issue, Miller and Sardais challenge the established wisdom that agents are preordained to play costly villains in their contracts with shareholders in modern corporations. The key exhibit in support of their assertion is an angel agent in the form of Pierre Lefaucheux, the CEO of Régie Renault in early postwar France. Lefaucheux is shown to be a model agent, refreshingly free of the symptoms that afflict the archetypal economic agent of neoclassical agency theory. In this counterpoint, I provide a more restrained view of angel agents, question their wider presence and argue that one angel agent does not negate the overall theory of agency, and conclude by noting that the angel agent model has never really gained wide currency. Finally, I note that the inability of Renault to remain profitable in the late 1970s and the early 1980s raises questions about the longevity of programs left in place by well-intentioned angel agents.


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