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Whenever a CEO quits suddenly to spend more time tending his burgeoning hydrangea collection, which seems to be pretty much every other day, it’s hard to shake the feeling the company is usually being less than forthright about what happened.

You can almost understand why. In the corporate sector, we’re exceedingly polite, fearful of implying anything less than superstar performance from even the most mediocre plodder. Even after someone walks the plank amid a share price implosion, you’ll find the board gushing about his "visionary leadership", rather than, say, a mule-like insistence on value-decimating deals, or unfathomable ego...

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