This is essentially the theme developed by VC Bart Schachter in his guest post on PE Week Wire. It is indeed not uncommon for CEOs leaving the top spot to do a stint in VC firms as EIRs, venture partners or GPs. Bart pictures it:
Imagine that, instead of taking refuge in the pages the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Bill would have set his sights on becoming (the horror) a venture capitalist. Consider that, in a moment of blissful bridge fantasy, instead of seeking to remedy the injustices of the third world, he might have opted instead to set up shop as a budding VC. Consider the high points of the billgventures.com home page: Operating experience, Value-added Investing, an Eye to Company-Building, Unequaled Access to Global Business Leaders, and in case you missed the first bullet, CEO Experience.
Would Bill Gates have made a successful VC ? We’ll never know, but it is clear that he has been doing an admirable job at the Gates Foundation, which has become the largest foundation ever with the recent pledge of tens of billions of dollars from Warren Buffet.