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The graceful exit: How to shutter a business when the pandemic forces closure


Robert Siegel has peered into the post-COVID-19 future and concluded that anyone hoping for a quick recovery is likely to be disappointed. Which means a great many businesses will fail.


“We can say that with 1,000% certainty,” says Siegel, a lecturer in management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, “and there are many reasons why.”


First, he says, a vaccine almost certainly won’t be widely available for at least a year. In the interim, restaurants, airlines, and hotels are going to be running well below capacity.

“There’ll be fewer jobs, and fewer jobs means less money flowing into the economy,” he says. “It’s impossible for things to bounce right back.”


As a general partner at XSeed Capital and a venture partner at Piva, Siegel researches strategy and innovation in companies of all sizes, with an emphasis on technology. We sat down with him to ask a few questions about what a good leader should do if the current pandemic proves to be an extinction event for their firm.


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