The comments reveal that many disagree. But I think they miss the point.
Sure you can be a good web company leader without any development experience. You can learn how much development time a feature or project costs with experience as a project manager. But you don’t learn why.
Unless you have had some programming experience, you won’t understand the concept of technical debt well enough to project into the future, to just know. You won’t know if the code you have before you, whether delivered internally or externally is something you can grow with. Or if you’re trading what you think is speed and features for long term growth.
I think programming experience is invaluable, maybe even more so than design. Why? Because anything is possible and buildable - but only with a good foundation and code base.
What do you think?