Max Schireson, CEO of the software company MongoDB, is stepping down from his position as the company's top dog to be with his family, an act almost unheard of for a man who, in 2013, ranked 59th on Business Insider's 2013 100 Biggest Stars of Silicon Valley list.
In his personal blog, Schireson is quick to point out how the media often asks successful women how they are able to manage their career while being a mother at the same time. His wife, a doctor and professor at Standford University, gets asked the same kind of questions. But despite being a father himself, Shireson says he has never been asked how he balances being a CEO and a dad, instead only being asked what kind of car he drives and his favorite type of music. Even if the media never asked, Shireson says he often asked himself the question.
After doing some searching, Schireson found his answer. His CEO status required him to commute from Palo Alto, California to New York every 2-3 weeks. He is on track to travel more than 300,000 miles for the year. As a result of all that travel, Shireson says he missed a lot: his son's surgery, the family dog being hit by a car and just regular family fun. So he is stepping away from his CEO role.
"I recognize that by writing this I may be disqualifying myself from some future CEO role," Schireson says on his blog. "Will that cost me tens of millions of dollars someday? Maybe. Life is about choices. Right now, I choose to spend more time with my family and am confident that I can continue to have an meaningful and rewarding work life while doing so. At first, it seemed like a hard choice, but the more I have sat with the choice the more certain I am that it is the right choice."
He says his wife, despite being incredibly busy woman with an important career, is a fantastic and patient mother as she manages their three children ages 14, 12 and 9 while he is constantly away.
"I love her, I am forever in her debt for finding a way to keep the family working despite my crazy travel," he says. "I should not continue abusing that patience."
Schireson still plans to stay on with the company in a vice-chairman role and help in any way he can. He just expects to be working "normal full-time" hours as opposed to "crazy full-time" hours.
Photo: Junya Ogura