At the end of the day, people are loyal to a leader they believe in. Leading is not managing. Although it is impossible to lead if there is no management. But leading is that special thing. It is charisma, it is strength, it is communication, it is vision, it is listening, it is being there, it is calm, it is connecting, it is trust, faith, and belief. The best founders are great leaders. They may be shitty managers which means they need to find managers to help them. But they are great leaders. One of the things we look for in founders is leadership. If we want to follow them, we believe that others will too.
That’s why it’s okay if the Founder/CEO doesn’t stay the CEO forever.
Some founders make great CEOs until the end, some don’t. And some (like me) love the first 5 years, first $30-50 million in revenue, leading the first 150 employees but don’t love the role after that point. So sometimes even if you want to stay put (as Reid Hoffman did) – it may make sense to bring on the new CEO that is more experienced and enjoys more the scaling / large growth phase of a startup.
Some have it and some do not. It doesn’t mean that this is a less-than type of thing or that anyone is less valuable or capable, rather, it means that the person knows who they are and how best to serve their organization (and their own ambitions).