Who is better at leading a technically oriented business; a person trained in a related technical area or a person trained in business?  The raging debate continues.  Which do you think is best and why?

In my industry, drug development services (the D side of R&D), there seems to be a never-ending debate over the skill set required for business leaders.  The question is, what is the best educational background, technical (meaning scientific – Ph.D. in some related area) or business (meaning a specific business degree such as Finance or Marketing, or an MBA)? 

First, here are some clarifications.  In this case we are talking about:

  • GM and CEO positions (senior leadership roles);
  • businesses that are established, not in the start-up phase;

Weigh in with your thoughts!  I will try to keep track of them all and try to distill the responses into some overall conclusion.