The Power of a Graceful Retreat
'The first decision you will face in responding to a career disaster is the question of whether to confront the situation that brought you down--with an exhausting, expensive and perhaps embarrassing battle--or try to put it behind you as quickly as possible, in the hope that no one will notice or remember for long. In some cases, it's best to avoid immediate and direct confrontation. Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, for example, decided to sidestep the quicksand of litigation against Sandy Sigoloff, the conglomerateur who fired Marcus from Handy Dan Home Improvement. Marcus made his battleground the marketplace rather than the courtroom. Thanks to this strategy, he was free to set the historic course for the Home Depot, which now under his successor is approaching $100 billion in sales, with several hundred thousand employees. Other comeback kids also began with a graceful retreat.'
--from an article in the January issue of the Harvard Business Review, "Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters." According to research conducted by the authors, 35% of ousted CEOs return to an active executive role within two years, and about 43% effectively end their careers.