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There is a growing consensus that an accomplished curriculum vitae and prior achievement as an academician may not correlate with success as a chairperson of a contemporary academic orthopaedic department. As surgeons, formal professional education, research expertise, and clinical experience often are inadequate to foster the necessary skills and experience in executive leadership, change management, business administration, and strategy. The recruiting and hiring processes to fill academic leadership roles have been slow to adapt and recognize the skills that are necessary to be a successful chairperson. Recent research has identified emotional competency, resiliency, leadership, communication, results orientation, and personnel development as skills that correlate with success in academic leadership. Formal courses and training in executive leadership and business management may be helpful in enhancing knowledge and skills in these disciplines.