regime change
(ruh.ZHEEM chaynj) n. An ironic reference to a change of leadership, particularly in business, politics, or sports.

Example Citation:
As you might have heard, we've had a regime change here at the paper. We knew something was up Wednesday when all the TVs in the building suddenly went black, then showed the Star Tribune flag with patriotic music playing. Then the middle managers were dragged from the building in shackles and loaded into black vans — some sort of retreat, I guess. Next thing you knew we had a new editor.
—James Lileks, "New regime has informer already," Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), May 19, 2002

Earliest Citation:
Our fascination and anger and sense of betrayal over the breakup of the old championship Bulls, our curiosity about the new kids, our interest in a front-office regime change — all of it has been dulled until we just sort of shrug, smile and say, "Whatever."
—Rick Telander, "These Bulls in no hurry to improve," Chicago Sun-Times, April 17, 2002

The phrase regime change has been used in military and diplomatic circles for many years. It became a household term earlier this year when members of the Bush administration began using the phrase conspicuously when discussing their policy towards Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell used the term in congressional hearings in early February, and White House spokesman Ari Fleischer began using regime change regularly in press conferences around the beginning of March. Whether it was the prospect of war with Iraq or the unabashedly euphemistic scent carried by the phrase, it struck a chord and suddenly references to regime change were everywhere you looked.

What interests me, however, is the shift the phrase has taken to more mundane contexts. Whether it's the retirement of a business executive, the defeat of a politician, or the firing of a coach, wags from all walks of life are planting their tongues firmly in their cheeks and referring to these leadership moves as regime changes.

Below are a few more example citations to give you a taste of how this phrase is being used.

Example Citation #2:

lvmh fashion group instituted a regime change at its recently acquired subsidiary, Donna Karan International. The company kicked chief executive Giuseppe Brusone upstairs to be chairman and brought on Fred Wilson, head of LVMH's U.S. fashion division, to accelerate growth.
—"New CEO at Donna Karan," Crain's New York Business, October 7, 2002

Example Citation #3:

I think that if city commissioners and the mayor keep putting their residents' safety at risk, then we need a 'regime change' next election.
—Craig Eaton, "Monnin would bring much-needed change," Dayton Daily News, October 19, 2002

Example Citation #4:

In two short weeks in September, revolutionary regime change spread through the classical music world.
—Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2002

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