How's that for a turnaround? Not even three months since explosive allegations of racial insensitivity torpedoed her TV deal with the Food Network, celebrity chef Paula Deen is back to wowing crowds. She played to a full audience Saturday at a cooking conference at Dallas' Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

We've seen this before. Comeback CEOs are as American as apple pie, and just as tasty for investors. Look at the late Steve Jobs, who returned to Apple after 12 years away and brought with him a 100-bagger for outside shareholders.

The following slideshow looks at three other CEOs to stage successful comebacks, and what makes for a winning formula when it comes to investing in a leader.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, and at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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