jerryking + ceos   488

Dyson and the art of making quick decisions
October 16, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Gapper.

Article is arguing for enforcing a “shot clock” on lingering decisions and to put plans into action faster and regain competitive footing in your industry/business.

Entrepreneur, James Dyson, unceremoniously abandoned a Dyson initiative to build an electric car.  It demonstrated how unsentimental he was about unsuccessful experiments.....Better to acknowledge defeat as early as possible rather than after having thrown away hundreds of millions...For any business to thrive, difficult decisions need to be made, from new projects to corporate strategy. “The job of the CEO, everyone knows, is to make decisions,” wrote Ram Charan, a veteran strategy adviser. This is especially true when entire industries are facing disruption to their business models......Indecision is common in companies facing myriad possibilities, when executives are struggling to assess alternatives for future strategy. Many managers become frustrated by the glacial pace of corporate decision-making. McKinsey, the consultancy, surveyed executives who complained of “over-reliance on consensus and death by committee”, among other irritations....It is not always the chief executive’s fault. Some managers are comfortable with making simple decisions but struggle when they are promoted to a level where they are exposed to ambiguity and uncertainty. They need to employ their judgment, rather than consulting the data like an oracle. Their indecision can also infect the CEO. But your business is not a democracy....Some executives promote a “five second rule” to prompt executives who report to them to reach decisions (i.e. summarise the alternatives and options for any strategy, pause and pick one).....Being forced to use intuition after considering the evidence helps to avoid being paralysed by a question when there is no easy answer......Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, observed that “managers think of themselves as captains of a ship on a stormy sea” who respond skilfully to the elements around them. It feels better to pick a destination and sail in that direction than to wallow around.....But Prof Kahneman won his economics Nobel for research on the cognitive biases that affect human choices. Making quick decisions, even informed by experience and expertise, is valuable but not foolproof. As he noted, “intuition feels just the same when it’s wrong and when it’s right, that’s the problem.”....Those who consider a challenge from all angles and act prudently and decisively may still be wrong. “Even highly experienced, superbly competent and well-intentioned managers are fallible,” Prof Kahneman wrote. Among the traps is the “halo effect” of believing that an executive who has succeeded before will make any project work. It follows that leaders should not be trapped by their decisions, or the confirmation bias of believing that the chosen path must be correct...... It is difficult when a leader place the entire company on another course, only to discover the pitfalls. It may take a successor to come along and reverse those choices. But decisions will at least prove right some of the time; indecision is always mistaken.
ambiguities  analysis_paralysis  CEOs  clock_speed  confirmation_bias  decision_making  Daniel_Kahneman  Dyson  halo_effects  hard_choices  HBR  humility  indecision  intuition  leaders  James_Dyson  judgment  mistakes  Ram_Charan  shot_clock  speed  tough-mindedness  uncertainty  unsentimental 
2 days ago by jerryking
Ikea dismantles tradition to seek inspiration from car industry
October 2, 2019 | Financial Times Richard Milne in Oslo.

Sometimes the complexity of their own companies can surprise top managers. Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of the owner of the Ikea brand, looks wide-eyed as he describes how the furniture retailer has nearly 100 different cabinets, sometimes with only 4-5 millimetres difference between models.

In storage solutions it has Pax wardrobes, Godmorgon bathroom cabinets, Metod in the kitchen and Besta in the living room — similar products but with subtly different heights or widths, making things difficult not just for the customer but also for Ikea itself.

So the world’s largest furniture retailer has looked to the car industry for inspiration. Platforms have dramatically changed the process of making cars — different models with vastly different pricing can be built on the same basic chassis. Changes are made between models on the things customers see — like the dashboard and entertainment systems — but much of the back-end that is invisible to drivers can be common.

Now Ikea is looking to bring platforms into home furnishing....Ikea is experimenting with city-centre and smaller shops as well as services such as home delivery and assembly. It is looking into renting out furniture instead of selling it, and smart home technology that brings it up against Silicon Valley.

Its platform initiative is one of its most important, albeit largely invisible to customers. Much still remains to be worked out such as just how much is common between different products — a dilemma recognisable from the car industry where Volkswagen faced complaints that there was little difference between VW and Skoda models except for the price.....standardisation should lead to lower prices for both it and customers. ....“How can we scale up in an efficient way? It’s difficult if we make each product uniquely. With platforms, it’s easier to adjust to new markets,” ...The new approach is not without risks though. Developing new platforms can be a costly business and in the car industry has often led to just as much complexity as before, particularly in companies like VW that are known for overengineering their vehicles, or confusion among consumers as to how big a difference there is between supposedly rival products.

Mr Loof is aware of the problem. “We need to define what makes sense to have on the platform and what not,” he says. “If you go too far you can arguably say you have decreased your range offer.”....for the furniture group, facing the same rapid changes in the retail landscape that have caused dozens of brands to fail, there is a feeling that it needs to do as much as it can even if it is likely to have failures on the way.
automotive_industry  CEOs  complexity  furniture  home_furnishing  Ikea  inspiration  platforms  retailers  risks  small_spaces  standardization  Torbjörn_Lööf 
16 days ago by jerryking
Vas Narasimhan of Novartis: ‘We Are Not at All Prepared for a Pandemic’ - The New York Times
How do you deal with all these stressors?

I’ve been working with a coach on four principles: mind-set, movement, nutrition and recovery. On mind-set, I set intentions every day. I find that trying to be clear about what I want to accomplish in the day, right in the morning, is very important. What’s the impact I want to have?

Nutrition is, Am I eating for performance, or am I eating to enjoy? I’m convinced that your glycemic status impacts your overall ability to make good decisions, handle stress, all of those things.

Movement: I’m a Peloton addict.

And then recovery. I try to sleep seven or eight hours a night. I take all my vacations with my family. I go on walks with my wife, who’s like my life coach, and professional coach, and all of everything in between.
CEOs  glycemic_index  intentionality  pandemics  Novartis  Vas_Narasimhan 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Momofuku’s Secret Sauce: A 30-Year-Old C.E.O.
Aug. 16, 2019 | The New York Times | By Elizabeth G. Dunn.

Momofuku was founded in 2004, with an East Village ramen bar that, after some initial stumbles, wowed diners by combining pristine ingredients and impeccable technique in humble dishes that melded influences from Japan to Korea to the American south. Since then, it has become a private-equity backed company with restaurants from Sydney to Los Angeles; a growing chain of fast-casual chicken sandwich shops; a media production unit churning out television shows and podcasts; and designs on creating a line of sauces and seasonings that could capture supermarket aisles across America. While Mr. Chang is the brand’s lodestar, Ms. Mariscal, 30, is the executive who makes it all work.

Born and raised on the Upper West Side, to the family that founded the specialty foods emporium Zabar’s, Ms. Mariscal began her career at Momofuku in 2011, as a public relations and events intern. Over the years, she quietly became Mr. Chang’s closest collaborator and confidante, a largely unknown force shaping matters as varied as menu design, branding and business development. “She’s the only person I’ve ever felt comfortable giving complete carte blanche to, in terms of what Momofuku looks like and what it should be,” Mr. Chang said. He recalled suggesting to the company’s board that Ms. Mariscal be named C.E.O. almost four years ago, when she was 26. She finally assumed the role in April.

It’s not unusual for a chef like Mr. Chang to parlay cooking talent and charisma into restaurants, cookbooks and television shows — a formula pioneered by the likes of Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless in the 1990s. But chef-driven food brands of the scope and ambition that Mr. Chang and Ms. Mariscal envision for Momofuku, with dozens of locations and mainstream packaged food products, are harder to pull off.

Adding to the challenge is Momofuku’s particular identity, which revolves less around a distinct culinary tradition than an attitude of restless innovation, boundary pushing and spontaneity. A formulaic chain of steakhouses, Momofuku ain’t. Scaling that ethos requires a tightrope act: Create enough structure and continuity to stave off chaos, without destroying the brand’s animating spirit in the process.
Asian  brands  branding  business_development  CEOs  chefs  commercial_kitchens  David_Cheng  detail_oriented  differentiation  diversification  food  founders  fusion  growth  high-standards  interns  investors  kitchens  leadership  Momofuku  organizational_structure  restauranteurs  restaurants  scaling  special_sauce  women  workaholic 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments: ‘Capitalism Needs to Work for Everyone’
July 18, 2019 | The New York Times | By David Gelles.

Mellody Hobson was raised by a single mother and endured economic hardship as a child. The phone was shut off. The car was repossessed. Her family was evicted.

Today, Ms. Hobson is one of the most senior black women in finance. She serves on the boards of JPMorgan Chase and Starbucks, and this month was named co-chief executive of Ariel Investments, the largest minority-owned investment firm.......I was in the Woodrow Wilson School of international relations and public policy at Princeton. You have to apply to get in, and I did not originally get in. I lobbied really hard and called many people. I just would not take no for an answer.

I spent a lot of my years in the Woodrow Wilson School studying systems that really oppress people. I wrote my senior thesis on South Africa, and specifically on how children ultimately led to the end of apartheid because of their uprisings.........What do you tell people who are starting on their financial journey, wherever they might be?

I start off by explaining to them that it’s never too late, literally never. I also think the most important thing you can learn about money, and Warren Buffett talks about this, is compound interest. It’s the eighth wonder of the world. If you understand compound interest, you understand money working for or against you.

We talk about long-term patient investing, and that idea that slow and steady does win the race, that time can be your best friend when it comes to investing. That’s why we have a turtle as a logo at Ariel........ I believe in capitalism. It is the best system that has existed in the world. Show me a better one. I can’t find it. But I also believe that capitalism needs to work for everyone, and so I don’t begrudge those people who’ve done extraordinarily well in our society as long as it’s a fair fight.

It isn’t always a fair fight, though, and that’s what we need to fix. That could be anything from our tax bases and how that works, our tax rates, to other issues that occur in our society around fair opportunities for education.

I am a person of color who happens to be a woman as well, and I have firsthand dealt with inequality, despite having shown up with all of the credentials. I do not sit here believing that if you’ve just gone to a great school and this, that and the other, it’s all going to be fine. It just doesn’t work like that in our society. I think about those people who were like me and are like me. That goes into the boardrooms that I’m in. I also think about the people of color who are inside of those companies, making sure they get the same opportunity as those who are in the majority population....
African-Americans  alumni  Ariel  capitalism  CEOs  finance  inequality  investing  Mellody_Hobson  money_management  Princeton  women 
july 2019 by jerryking
Canada’s missed opportunity: Pot industry now being run out of the U.S.
JULY 3, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by ANDREW WILLIS.

With Bruce Linton’s firing, it’s now all too clear that the biggest companies in Canadian cannabis are run out of New York and the state of Washington. An industry that this country seemed destined to lead when the federal Liberals legalized recreational cannabis last October 2018, is increasingly dominated by foreigners. ...... The opportunity to create global cannabis champions, based in Canada, appears to be vanishing. There should be a conversation around that issue, in political and business circles, before the biggest head offices all disappear... Linton ...lost his job because his visionary approach for Canopy Growth Corp. didn’t fit with the predictable, quarter-by-quarter profits demanded by Constellation Brands Inc....Linton’s departure is similar to what has played out at many startups that get sold to multinational companies. .....Even when we brought Constellation's $5-billion in, I knew, from that change of structure, there would likely be implications for management, but it was the right thing to do for the company.”... our entrepreneurs tend to sell successful startups at a relatively early stage, compared to jurisdictions such as the U.S. and Asia. . The trend, now happening even more rapidly in the cannabis sector, cuts into the potential future prosperity of this country......a study last year from the Washington-based Brookings Institution and the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business – scaling up successful domestic businesses is essential to creating wealth and producing the next generation of corporate leaders. Canadians need to do better at turning their own companies into global champions. Silicon Valley generates enormous wealth out of a vibrant tech community. Why can’t Leamington, Ont., or Nanaimo, B.C., aspire to do the same in cannabis?..Canadian cannabis companies were created by government policy..... federal and provincial regulators granted the licences needed to grow and distribute their products – and local capital markets were receptive to financing them...CEOs, boards and domestic politicians should be asking if the country is best served by a laissez-faire approach to cannabis that created vibrant, valuable businesses following legalization in 2018, then quickly began handing over control of the sector....
Andrew_Willis  Bay_Street  Brookings  cannabis  Canopy_Growth  CEOs  Constellation_Brands  crossborder  departures  firings  global_champions  head_offices  home_grown  industrial_policies  Martin_Prosperity_Institute  missed_opportunities  sellout_culture 
july 2019 by jerryking
Lee Iacocca, car executive, 1924-2019
July 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Kenneth Gooding 14 HOURS AGO
'80s  automotive_industry  CEOs  Chrysler  Detroit  Ford  obituaries 
july 2019 by jerryking
How non-engineer Stewart Butterfield reached top of Silicon Valley
JUNE 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

Silicon Valley loves its engineer-founders. They are members of the region’s highest caste, the entrepreneurs trusted to turn bits and bytes into the next hit digital products, and the people venture capitalists most like to back.

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive of the workplace chat app Slack, is not one of them. He stands out as a philosophy major in a start-up world full of software engineers, a non-techie who has made it to the top of the tech heap......Slack’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange this week has cemented his reputation as one of the Valley’s most creative product designers — and values his own stake in the company at $1.6bn.

“He is your quintessential, product-oriented founder-leader,” ......In a nod to an unconventional streak in Mr Butterfield’s personality that separates him from the herd, Mr Levie adds: “He has just the right level of quirkiness.”.....Butterfield got a philosophy degree at the University of Victoria, followed by a master of philosophy at Cambridge, before being bitten by the internet bug at the end of the 1990s and moving to Silicon Valley........Pressed on how he can withstand the Microsoft onslaught, Mr Butterfield defaults to the quiet, analytical self-assurance. “There has been a long history of the small, focused start-up taking on the large incumbent with multiple lines of business and being successful” — starting, he added, with a small and scrappy Microsoft itself taking on the giant IBM.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  CEOs  chat  craftsmanship  engineering  Flickr  founders  mobile_applications  product_design  product-orientated  quirky  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Slack  start_ups  Stewart_Butterfield  workplaces 
june 2019 by jerryking
Opinion: Canadian CEOs facing an innovation disconnect - The Globe and Mail
ELIO LUONGO
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED MAY 29, 2019

Both Canadian and global CEOs told us the environment, territorialism and disruptive technologies were their top three concerns.

For Canadian companies, lack of consensus on environmental issues weighs heavily given our disproportionate dependence on the resource sector. And with nearly a third of our gross domestic product tied to exports, growing trade differences with and between Canada’s two largest trade partners raises concerns about the continuing health of our economy.

While our leaders are carefully watching how these national and geopolitical issues pan out, they are putting their focus on technology. Almost two-thirds plan to increase investment in disruption detection and innovative processes – with the same number planning to collaborate with innovative startups.

But CEOs must also brace for the effects of automation and artificial intelligence on their work force. It comes down to culture, and three-quarters of CEOs say they want a culture in which failure in pursuit of innovation is tolerated. However, barely half say that it exists today.
Canadian  CEOS  collaboration  disruption  innovation  large_companies  start_ups 
may 2019 by jerryking
"Boss: The Black Experience in Business" Explores the History of African American Entrepreneurship Tuesday, April 23 on PBS
Apr 23, 2019 | WNET |

Tying together the past and the present, Boss: The Black Experience in Business explores the inspiring stories of trailblazing African American entrepreneurs and the significant contributions of contemporary business leaders. Stories featured in the film include those of entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, publisher John H. Johnson, Motown CEO Berry Gordy, and business pioneer and philanthropist Reginald F. Lewis, among others. The film features new interviews with Vernon Jordan, senior managing director of Lazard, Freres & Co. LLC.; Cathy Hughes, CEO and founder of Urban One; Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox and chairman of VEON; Ken Frazier, chairman, president and CEO of Merck & Co., Inc.; Richelieu Dennis, founder, CEO and executive chairman of Sundial Brands; Robert F. Smith, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Managing Partners, LLC; Earl "Butch" Graves, Jr., CEO of Black Enterprise; and John Rogers, CEO and founder of Ariel Investments.

As a capitalist system emerged in the United States, African Americans found ways to establish profitable businesses in numerous industries, including financial services, retail, beauty, music and media.
African-Americans  Berry_Gordy  C.J.Walker  CEOs  documentaries  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  filmmakers  founders  historians  history  inspiration  Kenneth_Frazier  Lazard  Merck  moguls  PBS  Reginald_Lewis  Robert_Smith  storytelling  trailblazers  Vernon_Jordan 
april 2019 by jerryking
Apple and Qualcomm’s Billion-Dollar Staredown
April 13, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle and Asa Fitch.

Apple has called Qualcomm a monopoly and said Mr. Mollenkopf has lied about settlement talks between the companies. Qualcomm has accused Apple of deceiving regulators around the world and stealing software to help a rival chip maker.

For two years, the companies have bickered over the royalties Apple pays to Qualcomm for its patents. Discord between the CEOs, who bring different management styles and principles to the table, has deepened the divide. They have dug into their positions as the dispute has escalated....Apple’s patent lawsuit against Qualcomm is set to go to trial—with both CEOs expected to testify in a case where billions of dollars are at stake. .....Cook’s view that Qualcomm’s licensing practices—taking a 5% share of most of the sales price of an iPhone—was just plain wrong, allowing the chip maker to profit off Apple innovations in display and camera technology.....
5G  Apple  CEOs  conflict_resolution  disputes  Intel  licensing  litigation  mobile_phones  patents  Qualcomm  royalties  semiconductors  smartphones  Steve_Mollenkopf  Tim_Cook 
april 2019 by jerryking
With the iPhone Sputtering, Apple Bets Its Future on TV and News
March 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

The iPhone is running out of juice. To go beyond the device that made Apple Inc. a global colossus, Tim Cook is betting on a suite of services—marking the company’s biggest shift in more than a decade......Apple will take a giant leap forward announcing video- and news-subscription services that it hopes will generate billions of dollars in new annual revenue and deepen ties between iPhone users and the company.....apps and services, from Spotify to Netflix to China’s WeChat , have often become more important to users than the devices that run them. .....The company’s ambition in video is to become an alternative to cable, combining original series with shows from other networks to create a new entertainment service that can reach more than 100 markets world-wide. ....Apple hasn’t said what it will charge for the programming. .....The original series will be delivered in a new TV app that staff have been calling a Netflix killer.....Apple has been negotiating to bring its new TV app to multiple platforms, including Roku and smart TVs.........Apple plans to showcase a revamped News app that includes a premium tier with access to more than 200 magazines—including Bon Appétit, People and Glamour—as well as newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal.....The Washington Post and New York Times aren’t participating in the new app...... in the early 2000s, co-founder Steve Jobs reinvented the company by pushing it into mobile devices. The iPod and its accompanying iTunes service revived a company that was largely dependent on Mac computer sales....Mr. Cook is attempting a similar feat in the approaching twilight of the smartphone era....Cook wanted to know which apps were selling well, how many Apple Music subscribers stuck with the service, and how many people were signing up for iCloud storage.....Apple’s biggest source of services revenue comes from distributing other companies’ software through its App Store.....Apple’s music-streaming service has about 50 million global subscribers—far behind Spotify’s 96 million.

Apple’s base of 1.4 billion iPhones, iPads and Macs in use globally gives it a distribution platform..................The push into news subscriptions could help Apple battle Facebook, whose News Feed has helped it become the No. 1 app world-wide in monthly active smartphone users.....Facebook is attempting to become a super-app like China’s WeChat, which allows users to shop, order food, buy movie tickets and make reservations on any mobile operating system......Steve Jobs foreshadowed Apple’s services future when he started iTunes in 2001, offering categories from competing major labels to make the first successful digital-music store, with songs available for 99 cents.

For Mr. Cook’s monthly services meetings, the company monitors of apps that benefit and threaten Apple. There is a "release radar" for Cook to track apps that are expected to sell well and other metrics for the apps that have challenged Apple’s business, including iTunes sales decreases compared with Apple Music subscription growth.
App_Store  Apple  Apple_IDs  Apple_Music  big_bets  CEOs  cloud_computing  Disney  iCloud  iPhone  iTunes  magazines  mobile_applications  multiplatforms  Netflix  news  NYT  original_content  pivots  platforms  services  smartphones  Spotify  storage  streaming  subscriptions  television  Tim_Cook  WaPo  WeChat 
march 2019 by jerryking
Citigroup CEO says machines could cut thousands of call centre jobs
February 17, 2019 | Financial Times | Laura Noonan and Patrick Jenkins in Dublin.

Citigroup chief executive Mike Corbat has suggested that “tens of thousands” of people working in the US bank’s call centres are likely to be replaced by machines that can “radically change or improve” customers’ experience while cutting costs.

Mr Corbat, who runs America’s fourth-largest bank by assets, made the comments in an interview with the Financial Times in which he also ruled out Citi’s involvement in any wave of US banking consolidation triggered by the $66bn SunTrust-BB&T merger and justified its continued presence in China.

Under pressure to bring its cost base in line with peers, Citi executives have been upfront about the impact of technology on their 209,000-strong global workforce, including last summer’s warning that as many as half of the 20,000 operations staff in its investment bank could be supplanted by machines.

Mr Corbat’s latest comments are the most explicit the company has been on how the $8bn a year Citi spends on technology could transform its vast consumer bank, which serves 100m customers across 19 markets.

“When you think of data, AI [artificial intelligence], raw digitisation of changing processes, we still have.....
artificial_intelligence  automation  call_centres  CEOs  Citigroup  layoffs  job_destruction  job_loss 
february 2019 by jerryking
Inter Ikea’s Torbjorn Loof: making the vision clear
February 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Richard Milne.

Internal politics had supposedly never played much of a role in the tangled web of companies that makes up the world’s largest furniture retailer. But when Inter Ikea, little-known owner of the brand and concept, acquired the product range, design and manufacturing businesses in 2016 from its more famous sister company, Ikea Group, Torbjorn Loof was struck by the infighting.......The 53-year-old is running a franchise system that decides everything: from which products are on offer and what the stores look like, to the famous catalogues and flat-pack design. But rather than use his new-found power and influence, Mr Loof took a different approach..........Mr Loof is now engineering the biggest transformation Ikea has undertaken by changing its famed business model that has brought it so much success. Having giant out-of-town warehouses, where shoppers pick their own furniture and then build it at home, underpinned Ikea’s solid profitability for seven decades.

But now it is looking increasingly at city-centre stores, online shopping, home delivery and assembly, and more radical ideas such as leasing furniture and selling on websites such as Alibaba. Mr Loof says that challenging such a successful status quo is tricky, especially as the company does not have all the answers on what the new retail landscape will look like.....“We made sure that the vision and the purpose were very, very clear. Not spending too much time on what sometimes is in the middle of things — all the strategies and plans, and all of that had to come later.”......Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad said it was important to be long term and “think about where should we be in 200 years?” The managers smiled at his exaggeration and asked him if that wasn’t too much. “Yes, of course”, he said, “but then you make the short-term plan: that means the next 100 years”.....the toughest tasks is encouraging the entrepreneurship that characterised the company’s early days. He concedes that the decade-long period of growth in the early part of this century stifled Ikea’s creativity and recalls going to see Kamprad a few years ago when sales suddenly hit a bump. “I was a little bit worried. I said to Ingvar: ‘sales are not growing’, and then he looked at me and just smiled and he said: ‘wonderful! Crisis!’ So, there is this kind of [attitude] to love the crisis because the opportunities in the crisis are that you get more creative,” he adds. Ikea has experimented more with what Mr Loof calls the “phygital” — the place where the physical and digital worlds of shopping collide (e.g.an augmented reality app visualization of Ikea furniture in situ at a customer's home, as well as a virtual reality kitchen). ...Ikea will do numerous trials in the next few years: “Even if we would be the best planners, we hire brilliant business analysts, the best strategists, I think we would not make it. So, we have to be the fastest learners . . . daring to test things and make mistakes, but also again correct them.”
CEOs  clarity  Ikea  vision  mistakes  Communicating_&_Connecting  creativity  crisis  cyberphysical  transformational  coopetition  city-centres  Alibaba  leasing  e-commerce  home-assembly  home-delivery  Torbjörn_Lööf 
february 2019 by jerryking
Meg Whitman: ‘Businesses need to think, who’s coming to kill me?’
January 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar 7 HOURS AGO.

Whitman has just launched Quibi, a $1bn start-up of which she is chief executive (entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, her co-founder, is chairman). The venture, backed by a host of entertainment, tech and finance groups including 21st Century Fox, Viacom, Alibaba, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, has the lofty aim of becoming the Netflix of the mobile generation, offering high-quality, bite-sized video content for millennials (and the rest of us) hooked on smartphones......Whitman's experience has left her with plenty of advice for chief executives struggling with nearly every kind of disruption — technological, cultural and geopolitical. “I think every big business needs to be thinking, ‘Who’s coming to kill me?’ Where are the big markets that for regulatory reasons, or just because things are being done the way they always have been, disruption is likely? I’d say healthcare is one,” ...... a “Quibi”, is the new company’s “snackable” videos, designed to be consumed in increments of a few minutes....“You have all these in-between moments, and that’s what inspired the length of the content,” she says. “Very few people are watching long-form content on this device,” she says, holding up her iPhone. “They’re spending four to five hours a day on their phones, but they’re playing games, watching YouTube videos, checking social media, and surfing the internet. And although [people] pick up their phones hundreds of times a day, the average session length is 6.5 minutes.”.......Whitman’s hope is that just as people now binge on hour-long episodes of The Crown or House of Cards at home, they’ll do the same on their smartphone while in the doctor’s office, or commuting, or waiting for a meeting to start. As Whitman puts it, “every day you walk around with a little television in your pocket.” She and Katzenberg are betting that by the end of this year, we’ll spend some of our “in-between moments” watching micro-instalments of mobile movies produced by Oscar winning film-makers or stars ... interviewing other stars. ....The wind was at her back at eBay, where she became president and chief executive in 1998, presiding over a decade in which the company’s annual revenues grew from $4m to $8bn. “It’s hard to change consumer behaviour. We did that at eBay. We taught people how to buy in any auction format on the internet, how to send money 3,000 miles across the country and hope that you got the product.”

Quibi, she believes, doesn’t require that shift. “People are already watching a lot of videos on their phones. You just need to create a different experience.” She lays out how the company will optimise video for phones in ways that (she claims) will utterly change the viewing experience, and will leverage Katzenberg’s 40 years in the business.

..
CEOs  disruption  Meg_Whitman  Rana_Foroohar  start_ups  women  bite-sized  Hollywood  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  mobile  subscriptions  web_video  high-quality  Quibi  smartphones  advice  large_companies  large_markets  interstitial 
january 2019 by jerryking
Muhtar Kent: bottling Coca-Cola’s secrets for success
January 6, 2019 | Financial Times Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.
beverages  brands  CEOs  Coca-Cola  exits 
january 2019 by jerryking
GE: industrial stalwart contemplates a general overhaul
OCTOBER 5, 2018 | Financial Times | by Ed Crooks in New York.

“GE Power is at death’s door,” says Scott Davis, an analyst at Melius Research. “It’s going to require a massive change in strategy to fix it.”

The Alstom deal is far from being GE’s only strategic mis-step. But it is emblematic of two of the company’s flaws: a weakness for dealmaking, and an inability to respond effectively to a changing market. Together, those failings go a long way to explaining why one of the greatest names in American business, an original member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average at its creation in 1896, has lost more than 80 per cent of its market capitalisation since 2000......while GE’s leaders were focused on a deal that might have been perfect 10 or 20 years ago, they were underestimating the scale of the changes hitting the electricity industry. As the costs of wind and solar power have plunged, they have become competitive against the gas-fired and coal-fired power plants that are GE and Alstom’s forte. It is a mistake that companies often make at times of structural change, says Kingsmill Bond of the Carbon Tracker Initiative: “They confused the current size of the market with the future growth of the market.”.....As the scale of the problem emerged, Mr Flannery moved to cut costs. Last December he announced 12,000 jobs would go from the power division. But reducing headcount is slow work in Europe, especially in France, where Mr Immelt had pledged to create a net 1,000 additional jobs by the end of 2018......The urgency of the crisis creates opportunities to make radical changes. A group of investors including hedge fund manager Sir Christopher Hohn of the Children’s Investment Fund on Friday published a letter to Mr Culp, urging him to scale back investment in gas and coal power and embrace clean energy.....Giving up on selling new turbines to concentrate on the more lucrative services business would be a momentous step, but Mr Davis says that like General Motors during the 2008 financial crisis, the business is in urgent need of a radical rethink.
Alstom  CEOs  change  cost-cutting  deal-making  DJIA  energy  GE  Jack_Welch  Jeffrey_Immelt  shifting_tastes  Siemens  structural_change  John_Flannery  exits 
october 2018 by jerryking
CIBC’s Victor Dodig warns about global debt levels; urges Canada to prepare
SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | by JAMES BRADSHAW (BANKING REPORTER)

Who/Where/Occasion: CIBC's CEO Victor Dodig, in a speech to the Empire Club

Problem(s):
* alarm over rising global debt levels, warning that Canada needs to start preparing now for the next economic shock.
* some of the most acute threats to the global economy are beyond this country’s control, but cautioned Canadians not to get too comfortable while times are good.
* developing problems could ripple through interwoven financial markets around the world.
* “It sounds counterintuitive, but that same debt that helped the world recover is actually infusing risk into the global financial system today," ...“I think there’s a real serious global challenge of this low-interest-rate party developing a big hangover."

Remedies:
* clarify rules around foreign direct investment, which is falling in Canada. The main culprit is the uncertainty plaguing large business deals that require approval from Ottawa under opaque foreign-investment rules – and he cites the turmoil surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as an example.
* more immigration to Canada, asking the government – which has already set higher immigration targets for the coming years – to open its arms even wider.
* governments and employers to work more closely with universities and colleges to match the skills graduates have to employers' needs, promoting what are known as the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math – as well as skilled trades.
* remove interprovincial trade barriers.
* allow companies to expense capital investments within one year to be more competitive with U.S. rules.

My Takeaways:
CEOs  CIBC  debt  FDI  global_economy  interconnections  interest_rates  opacity  pipelines  resilience  speeches  uncertainty  Victor_Dodig  war_for_talent  threats  beyond_one's_control  complacency  preparation  financial_system  readiness 
september 2018 by jerryking
How One Silicon Valley C.E.O. Masters Work-Life Balance - The New York Times
By Bee Shapiro
Aug. 24, 2018

Daily Lists
I have a tomorrow list that I make the night before. I write down the three things I have to accomplish the next day. I try to wait until I get to the office before I’ll crack that open. I used to have a more organic approach, and my system just broke. With the complexities of the C.E.O. life — board calls, meetings, traveling and trying to be there for your family — you need a system.

Work Philosophies
This guy Tony Schwartz wrote a book that said: Time is a finite resource and energy is renewable. This was profound for me. For example, I enjoy the act of staying fit. It feels good, and the results are palpable. If I’m not getting exercise and seven hours of sleep, I’m not as good, so I view it as essential.

I also set themes throughout the week. I borrowed this from Jack Dorsey. It helps me and the people on my team minimize the content twitching that goes on. So if Monday is themed for business matters, and Thursday is more for recruiting, everyone knows. Content twitching is one of the reasons we feel overwhelmed and maybe not as productive. We’re constantly content twitching between apps and topics.
CEOs  Evernote  exercise  focus  Jack_Dorsey  productivity  routines  Silicon_Valley  to-do  lists  finite_resources  Tony_Schwartz  work_life_balance  GTD  think_threes  personal_energy  overwhelmed  squirrel-like_behaviour 
august 2018 by jerryking
PNC’s Bill Demchak hopes Pittsburgh’s old money will finance its tech-driven future
July 29, 2018 | Financial Times | Patti Waldmeir.

Pittsburgh native Bill Demchak, chief executive at PNC, to reflect on the rebirth of one of America’s great Rust Belt cities — and what lessons it may hold for other cities trying to recover from decades of decline.

Few American metropolises suffered the kind of economic conflagration that first hit Pittsburgh in the 1970s when its economic foundation, the steel industry, collapsed......one reason Pittsburgh has money today is because it had money yesterday: the fortunes earned by the city’s early industrial entrepreneurs — such as Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon — helped fund philanthropic institutions that were still in place to help bail the city out decades later.

The universities they funded were around too, generating the talent and the infrastructure for the innovation economy Pittsburgh is counting on for prosperity in the 21st century.

“What we had to our advantage, then and today, was a very strong university system, with University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. We had an extremely strong philanthropic community driven by the old money from the Mellon family, the Heinz endowments, Carnegie,” he says.

These foundations offered broad-based support as technology came to the fore in the mid-1990s, he adds, when CMU was a leader in robotics and autonomous vehicles, as it is today.
Andrew_Carnegie  Carnegie_Mellon  cities  Colleges_&_Universities  innovation  philanthropy  Pittsburgh  revitalization  CEOs  Rust_Belt  industrial_Midwest  midwest  Red_states 
july 2018 by jerryking
Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu’s hardball tactics benefit everyone but Aimia - The Globe and Mail
ANDREW WILLIS
PUBLISHED 3 DAYS AGO

Mr. Rovinescu, whose career includes stints as a lawyer and investment banker along with an investor-friendly flight at the helm of Air Canada, can take credit for launching Aimia as a public company back in 2005. Air Canada’s CEO also pulled the rug out from under Aimia, setting the stage for this takeover, by announcing in May, 2017, that the airline planned to end its relationship and start its own loyalty program when its contract expires in 2020. That announcement knocked back Aimia’s stock price by more than 50 per cent, and shares have never recovered.

Air Canada’s decision to spin out Aimia, along with the airline’s maintenance business and regional carrier, amounted to inspired financial engineering. The offerings brought in the cash needed to spruce up the fleet with fuel-efficient jets and pay down debt. It’s fair to say these deals set the stage for Air Canada’s stunning stock-price performance on Mr. Rovinescu’s watch.

The decision to buy back Aimia is also strategically and financially sound. Loyalty programs and the data they generate are valuable assets for airlines and credit-card companies. Along with Air Canada, this takeover is backed by Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada Corp. The consortium leaves long-time Aeroplan partner American Express on the outside looking in........Air Canada sold high on Aimia, then knocked the stuffing out of the company by ending its partnership. Now, the airline is buying low. Long-time Aimia shareholders will emerge from this journey badly bruised. But Mr. Rovinescu’s tactics are good business.

Students of corporate deal-making may recall how TD Bank, a member of the Aimia takeover consortium, played capital markets to its advantage. In 1999, the bank raised $1.5-billion by spinning off a stake in its discount brokerage division, TD Waterhouse. The move gave TD Bank the capital it needed to buy Canada Trust the following year, a transformative deal.

By 2001, the dot-com bubble had burst, taking with it the premium valuation on discount brokerages. The parent bank bought back TD Waterhouse for a fraction of the price it had sold shares for, just two years earlier. TD Waterhouse shareholders complained, but at the end of the day, they sold. TD Bank’s bosses came out of the experience with a stronger company and burnished reputations.
Aeroplan  Aimia  Air_Canada  Andrew_Willis  Bay_Street  Calin_Rovinescu  CEOs  credit_cards  deal-making  dealmakers  loyalty_management  offensive_tactics  hardball  financial_engineering  transformational 
july 2018 by jerryking
Nestlé: Betting on big brands
July 2, 2018 | | Financial Times | Ralph Atkins in Zurich and Scheherazade Daneshkhu i
Nestlé  brands  coffee  CEOs 
july 2018 by jerryking
Five ways to cope when you fail to get the top job | Financial Times
Michael Skapinker

If you are one of these thwarted pyramid climbers, how do you cope? Here are five suggestions.

■ Ask yourself how much you really wanted it. No one gets to the top without personal sacrifice.....Possibly your unwillingness to make those sacrifices on the way up is what cost you that final promotion in the first place. Or possibly something else:

■ You just weren’t good enough......Think of how many people did not rise to your level and value what you did achieve.

■ It’s not over until it’s over. ....The new incumbent could quit...

■ Do something else. There is a whole world out there.... start a start-up...join a non-profit..if you have plenty of money....spend time travelling, learning a language or writing a book.
■ There are more important things in life. ....It leaves little time for reading, hobbies, artistic endeavours — all the things you will need for a fulfilling life when the job is over. You can catch up with those pursuits later, but what you cannot recover are the family and friends you neglected on the way. Treat them as you would want to be treated while you are working and they will always be there for you. That promotion you might have got is no match for that.
bouncing_back  CEOs  setbacks  disappointment  Managing_Your_Career  personal_sacrifice  inspiration  seminal_moments  career-defining_moments 
june 2018 by jerryking
Investment fund makes $1-billion bet on owners who control their companies - The Globe and Mail
The Canadian Business Growth Fund

“Canadian entrepreneurs find it difficult to secure the funding they need to grow, while maintaining control of their business,” said Mr. Rossolatos, who started his own career as a private-equity investor at TorQuest Partners Inc., then ran tech company Avante Logixx Inc. for seven years. He said the new fund, created by the federal Liberal government but backed by the country’s largest financial institutions, will offer an alternative to traditional venture-capital and private-equity funds, which typically demand control of a company in exchange for their money.

“Our goal is to help entrepreneurs scale up their mid-market businesses as a patient, minority capital partner,” Mr. Rossolatos said. The growth fund formally opens its doors on Tuesday with a $545-million capital commitment from 13 Canadian banks and insurers, which have the option of increasing that backing to $1-billion if the concept proves to be a money maker. Mr. Rossolatos joined the fund in January and has spent the past five months setting up the business and hiring a team of a dozen investment professionals.

Backers expect the new fund will help solve what’s perceived to be a chronic problem for small to medium-sized Canadian companies: Owners sell control relatively early in the businesses’ development, and miss out on the opportunity to build regional or even global champions.
Andrew_Willis  owners  private_equity  privately_held_companies  mid-market  mid-sized  global_champions  CEOs 
june 2018 by jerryking
Chief executives are outsourcing their responsibilities to activists
AUGUST 25, 2017 | FT | Matthew Vincent.

Sometimes complying with activists can seem no different to using management consultants. But if CEOs simply let activists call the shots, what are we paying them millions for? This only puts shareholders in the position of besieged householders on Halloween: doling out treats to the greedy but undeserving.
CEOs  shareholder_activism  Pershing_Square  William_Ackman 
may 2018 by jerryking
Les Wexner, the man behind Victoria’s Secret
Barney Jopson MARCH 30, 2018

Propped against the wall are boards from recent presentations about customer loyalty schemes and the nearby Easton open-air shopping complex, which was conceived by Wexner, a staunch and often lonely defender of bricks-and-mortar retail....Since his existential crisis, Wexner has devoted part of his time and fortune to philanthropy, funding leadership training and the Wexner Center for the Arts and Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, his alma mater.....The typical lifespan of a fashion business, Wexner says, is 15 years. Most retail chains, whatever they sell, don’t survive beyond 20 or 30 years. Yet Wexner has been in charge for 55 years. Behind him in the Fortune 500 longevity stakes is Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has run Berkshire Hathaway for a mere 53. The key to survival, Wexner says, is to reinvent yourself as your shoppers evolve. “When the customer zigs, you zig.”

But he is facing his stiffest trial yet. Amazon, which has conquered a series of retail categories, is now getting into underwear. Online-only lingerie specialists are trying to steal Victoria’s Secret customers....His eventual point is that most people want to express their individuality, which has a lot to do with sexuality, which means lingerie is loaded with powerful “emotional content” for women.......I talk about the predictive power of data and algorithms (one of Amazon’s great assets) but he pooh-poohs their relevance. The response is similarly dismissive when I ask Wexner — who did not marry his lawyer wife Abigail until he was 55 — whether he sourced lingerie ideas from the women he dated. “N-n-nooo,” he says. “You can’t ask. Fashion is about latent demand. You can’t research it. If I say, ‘what colour are you going to buy next fall?’, no one is going to say, ‘I think purple’s going to be a great colour’.”
........He says the death of shops has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, 9,000 US stores closed last year by some estimates. Sure, habits are changing. People used to wile away four hours at the mall and visit 20 stores. Now they skip the mediocre shops and make a beeline for just one or two, Wexner says. But humans are still “pack animals” who like to mingle. And where they go, they spend more. Amazon is great for buying commodity products when you know exactly what you want. But fashion stores are about stumbling upon “things you haven’t seen before”, Wexner says. The doom-mongers are looking at average sales across all shops. “I think they’re missing the wheat from the chaff,” he says.
.
Leslie_Wexner  Victoria's_Secret  moguls  CEOs  entrepreneur  retailers  L_Brands  intimate_apparel  personal_care_products  lingerie  bricks-and-mortar 
april 2018 by jerryking
Merck C.E.O. Ken Frazier on Death Row Cases and the Corporate Soul - The New York Times
By David Gelles

March 9, 2018

How do you prioritize your time?

There are three things that the C.E.O. should be focused on. Number one is that sense of purpose and direction that the company needs, making sure that that’s always clear and people know what we’re all about. The second thing is capital allocation. We only have so many resources. Making sure that you’re putting those resources where you have the greatest opportunity. And the third, which I think by far is the most important, is to make sure that you have the right people in the most important jobs inside the company.
African-Americans  capital_allocation  CEOs  death_row  Kenneth_Frazier  HLS  lawyers  Merck  new_graduates  pharmaceutical_industry  priorities  purpose  resource_allocation  talent_acquisition  think_threes  the_right_people 
march 2018 by jerryking
A new boss for McKinsey - Firm direction
Mar 1st 2018

On February 25th the result of a long election process was made public. Kevin Sneader, the Scottish chairman of McKinsey’s Asia unit, will replace Dominic Barton as managing partner—the top job. He inherits a thriving business. The firm remains by far the biggest of the premium consultancies (see table). Over the past decade, annual revenues have doubled to $10bn; so too has the size of the partnership, to more than 2,000......Mr Barton claims that half of what it does today falls within capabilities that did not exist five years ago. It is working to ensure that customers turn to McKinseyites for help with all things digital. It has had to make acquisitions in some areas: recent purchases include QuantumBlack, an advanced-analytics firm in London, and LUNAR, a Silicon-Valley design company. It is increasingly recruiting outside the usual business schools to bring in seasoned data scientists and software developers.....McKinsey has kept plenty of older ones as clients, such as Hewlett Packard, but it has a lot more to do to crack new tech giants and unicorns (private startups worth more than $1bn). ....McKinsey’s response is to try to gain a foothold earlier on in tech firms’ life-cycles. It is targeting medium-sized companies, which would not have been able to afford its fees, by offering shorter projects with smaller “startup-sized” teams
appointments  CEOs  data_scientists  management_consulting  McKinsey  mergers_&_acquisitions  SMEs  software_developers 
march 2018 by jerryking
Three steps to becoming a CEO - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 17 HOURS AGO
CEOs  Harvey_Schachter  howto 
february 2018 by jerryking
Meg Whitman joins Katzenberg’s ‘bite-sized’ video start-up
February 24, 2018 | FT | Tim Bradshaw in Los Angeles and Shannon Bond in New York.

Ms Whitman, the outgoing boss of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and former head of eBay, will become chief executive of a new media venture started by DreamWorks Animation co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. 

The company — provisionally named “NewTV” — has not yet created any content or developed an app. 

“Right now I am the only employee,” Ms Whitman told the Financial Times, “but there is a lot of work [already] done on the business plan and the strategy”.

NewTV’s central idea of creating “premium” short-form video with Hollywood production values was developed at WndrCo, the tech-meets-media holding company co-founded by Mr Katzenberg alongside Ann Daly, former president of DreamWorks Animation, and Sujay Jaswa, Dropbox’s former chief financial officer.

Videos will be up to 10 minutes long and distributed directly to consumers, in a style similar to Netflix.......NewTV plans to ride a wave of change in consumer viewing habits, as eyeballs shift from the big screen to the smartphone. 

Mobile viewing is growing explosively in total minutes and viewing time. And I don’t think the industry is comprehensively serving that up right now....Despite the huge investment in professionally produced online video from the likes of Netflix, Apple, Facebook, Alphabet’s YouTube and Snapchat, Mr Katzenberg and Ms Whitman are betting that none is focusing on “snackable” content for watching on the go. 

“One has to envision this short-form content as a completely new format,” she said. “You can’t take existing content and chop it up, you have to create for this format. That is going to inspire a lot of creativity and a chance to tell stories in a different way.” 

NewTV will develop its content and its technology in concert, to ensure fast loading times and personalised recommendations. “In some ways this will be a data company,”
Meg_Whitman  CEOs  HP  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  NewTV  content  short-form  start_ups  entertainment_industry  digital_media  storytelling  platforms  SaaS  video  bite-sized  snackable  Quibi 
january 2018 by jerryking
James Quincey, Coca-Cola CEO, on why brands have to take a stand
MAY 21, 2017 | FT | Lindsay Whipp in Atlanta.

Coca-Cola will be going back to its roots, developing and marketing drinks, not distributing them. But even without the bottling operations, the 51-year-old has a complex assignment on his hands.....While its fizzy drinks still account for nearly three-quarters of its sales by volume, according to Beverage Digest, its shares have underperformed those of rivals PepsiCo, which has a snacks division, and Dr Pepper Snapple over the past five years.

Mr Quincey is only too aware of the need for diversification and plans to accelerate investments in start-ups with promise. “The company must be capable of being bigger than the brand,” he says.

That distinction is important. The significant shift in consumer preferences is evident in the brand value of Coca-Cola (as opposed to Coca-Cola the company), which has tumbled from the top position globally, as ranked by BrandFinance, to 27th over the past decade. That represents a decline of more than $10bn to $31.8bn this year.

But what does this difference between company and product mean for the brand? “It’s very difficult to have the name on the door of the company and brand, and not have some overlap in what they stand for,” Mr Quincey says. “You’d have to change the name of the company. It’s not what we’re doing, just to be clear.”....Mr Quincey believes brands have to take a stand in this volatile environment — even at the risk of alienating some consumers. Coca-Cola did this earlier this year, by denouncing publicly Mr Trump’s controversial executive order banning citizens of certain majority Muslim countries from travelling to the US.

“A brand has to stand for something and you have to make the choices of what you want it to stand for, and then stand behind those choices,”
beverages  brands  brand_identity  brand_purpose  CEOs  Coca-Cola  Pepsi  shifting_tastes 
january 2018 by jerryking
Ten Years Out
December 5 2017 | FT | By Gideon Rachman, James Kynge, Vanessa Houlder and Richard Waters.

From massive migration to prying governments, businesses will have to weather startling changes over the next decade.....It can be difficult, when assailed daily by news of populism, terrorism and cyber hacking, to look to anything beyond the next crisis. Yet business leaders need to focus on the future. What, for example, does it mean for employers that by 2027, Africa’s population will have grown by a third and Europe’s will have flatlined? How will companies cope when governments expect them to gather more staff data and play ever larger roles in enforcing tax laws?

In Ten Years Out, four senior FT journalists outline what they see as the biggest challenges that no chief executive will be able to ignore. They also provide some tips on how companies can best prepare themselves for the changes that are coming.
forecasting  trends  CEOs  challenges  migration  tax  artificial_intelligence  China  Richard_Waters 
december 2017 by jerryking
Novartis’s new chief sets sights on ‘productivity revolution’
SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 | Financial Times | Sarah Neville and Ralph Atkins.

The incoming chief executive of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, has vowed to slash drug development costs, eyeing savings of up to 25 per cent on multibillion-dollar clinical trials as part of a “productivity revolution” at the Swiss drugmaker.

The time and cost of taking a medicine from discovery to market has long been seen as the biggest drag on the pharmaceutical industry’s performance, with the process typically taking up to 14 years and costing at least $2.5bn.

In his first interview as CEO-designate, Dr Narasimhan says analysts have estimated between 10 and 25 per cent could be cut from the cost of trials if digital technology were used to carry them out more efficiently. The company has 200 drug development projects under way and is running 500 trials, so “that will have a big effect if we can do it at scale”.......Dr Narasimhan plans to partner with, or acquire, artificial intelligence and data analytics companies, to supplement Novartis’s strong but “scattered” data science capability.....“I really think of our future as a medicines and data science company, centred on innovation and access.”

He must now decide where Novartis has the capability “to really create unique value . . . and where is the adjacency too far?”.....Does he need the cash pile that would be generated by selling off these parts of the business to realise his big data vision? He says: “Right now, on data science, I feel like it’s much more about building a culture and a talent base . . . ...Novartis has “a huge database of prior clinical trials and we know exactly where we have been successful in terms of centres around the world recruiting certain types of patients, and we’re able to now use advanced analytics to help us better predict where to go . . . to find specific types of patients.

“We’re finding that we’re able to significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes to execute a clinical trial and that’s huge . . . You could take huge cost out.”...Dr Narasimhan cites one inspiration as a visit to Disney World with his young children where he saw how efficiently people were moved around the park, constantly monitored by “an army of [Massachusetts Institute of Technology-]trained data scientists”.
He has now harnessed similar technology to overhaul the way Novartis conducts its global drug trials. His clinical operations teams no longer rely on Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides, but instead “bring up a screen that has a predictive algorithm that in real time is recalculating what is the likelihood our trials enrol, what is the quality of our clinical trials”.

“For our industry I think this is pretty far ahead,” he adds.

More broadly, he is realistic about the likely attrition rate. “We will fail at many of these experiments, but if we hit on a couple of big ones that are transformative, I think you can see a step change in productivity.”
adjacencies  algorithms  analytics  artificial_intelligence  attrition_rates  CEOs  data_driven  data_scientists  drug_development  failure  Indian-Americans  kill_rates  massive_data_sets  multiple_targets  Novartis  pharmaceutical_industry  predictive_analytics  productivity  productivity_payoffs  product_development  real-time  scaling  spreadsheets  Vas_Narasimhan 
november 2017 by jerryking
Italian luxury group Zegna tailors its cloth to suit millennials
NOVEMBER 19, 2017 | FT | by Rachel Sanderson in Milan.

Casual wear has become the fastest-growing luxury segment as tech savvy consumers want a high-end iteration of the “hoodie and sneakers look” favoured by tech entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to China.....The response of Mr Zegna, who together with his sister Anna and cousin Paolo run Zegna, has been to “reinvent ourselves in the casualisation world”.
.....So-called casualisation of luxury is one of the biggest trends in the €250bn industry, according to consultant Bain. Luxury brands invested €500m on developing “rubber slides” (a type of flip-flop) last year alone and €3.5bn on sneakers in an effort to attract millennial and Generation Z consumers, estimated to make up nearly half of the luxury market by 2025.

Failure to spot the trend can prove costly. Patrizio Bertelli, co-chief executive of family firm Prada, last month blamed a failure to spot the trend for luxury sneakers behind a tumble in revenues in its first half.

The luxury industry invested €3.5bn on sneakers last year as they tap the trend for upmarket casualisation © Bloomberg
“If there is one product today that is impulse driven and creates emotions [among consumers] it is the sneaker,”
..Zegna’s strength is that it controls its entire supply chain. ....Zegna three years ago bought a 6,300 acre farm with 10,000 sheep in Australia. Last year, it bought 60 per cent of a textile factory in Italy. Mr Zegna likes to say that Zegna goes from “sheep to shop to screen”, the latter in a nod to the rise of online shopping for luxury. Of its 7,000 employees half work in the industry and half in distribution.
.......Zegna says having raw materials and manufacturing at its fingertips has surprisingly proven a boon. “In this day in which the suit, like the tie, is not so popular, people are going for personalisation,”
.....In the world of men’s luxury — like other disrupted industries — consumers either want things “very fast” luxury or “very slow”, he argues.

For those willing and able to pay upwards of €5,000 for a bespoke suit, “It will take at least three months for you to have your beautiful garment,” says Mr Zegna with an evident satisfaction.
luxury  Italian  mens'_clothing  suits  millennials  CEOs  sneakers  family-owned_businesses  Zegna  digital_savvy 
november 2017 by jerryking
Navigating a Breathtaking Level of Global Economic Change
November 14, 2017 |The New York Times | by Andrew Ross Sorkin.
you’d think that any sense of “faith” in the global economy might be shaken, or at least, uncertain given events like North Korea, Russian interference in elections in the United States, post-Brexit Europe, and hurricane damage.

Not so.

In conversation after conversation with some of the nation’s top business leaders and chief executives last week, there is a stunning amount of genuine “confidence” in our economy here and, yes, even globally.

“I’m very surprised,” Laurence D. Fink, the founder of BlackRock, the largest money manager in the world overseeing some $6 trillion, said at The New York Times DealBook conference last Thursday, describing his new sense of optimism.......Mark Cuban, whose disdain for President Trump is so acute that he is considering running for president himself in 2020 as a Republican because it “means you get to go head-on with Trump right in the primaries — and so there’s nothing I’d have more fun doing.” Still, though, he said he believes the economy is in good enough shape that when it comes to investing in the stock market, “I just, you know, I just let it ride.”

Mr. Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said he keeps a small amount of cash on hand as a precaution. “I keep a little bit, you know, as a hedge. I call it my ‘Trump hedge’ because you just never know.....Earlier in 2017, The Conference Board reported that chief executives’ confidence had reached 2008 pre-recession highs in the first quarter.....there are pockets of the economy that are causing anxiety. “The last two or three years have not been fun whatsoever,” Mickey Drexler, the chairman of J. Crew, said at the conference about the traditional retail business, which has been upended by Amazon and changes in consumer behavior. “It’s been miserable.” Those challenges are extending to mall owners and commercial real estate, too..... is the stock market a proxy for the economy of America?....“In the aftermath of corporate and public-sector disasters, it often emerges that participants fell prey to a collective form of willful blindness and overconfidence: mounting warning signals were systematically cast aside or met with denial, evidence avoided or selectively reinterpreted, dissenters shunned,” Roland Bénabou a professor at Princeton University wrote in a seminal work on confidence and groupthink. “Market bubbles and manias exhibit the same pattern of investors acting ’colorblind in a sea of red flags,’ followed by a crash.”
confidence  Andrew_Sorkin  Mark_Cuban  Laurence_Fink  BlackRock  shifting_tastes  optimism  consumer_behavior  CEOs  J._Crew  Mickey_Drexler  commercial_real_estate  shopping_malls  warning_signs  groupthink  bubbles  overconfidence  precaution  global_economy  willful_blindness  manias  market_crash 
november 2017 by jerryking
GE and Siemens: power pioneers flying too far from the sun
November 12, 2017 | FT | by Ed Crooks in New York and Patrick McGee in Frankfurt.

Rivals GE and Siemens both face difficult challenges ahead with the threats emanating in the 21st century from the renewable energy revolution that risks rendering obsolete their century-old strengths in supplying equipment for the electricity industry.....As the costs of solar and wind power have plunged, making them cheaper than fossil fuel generation in many parts of the world, the traditional model of the industry has changed. Capital spending on the new technologies has soared. Battery storage is also starting to be a cost-effective solution for supporting the grid, challenging the market for “peaker” gas turbines that are used when demand is at its highest. Yet both groups have taken positions in renewable energy but have stumbled along the way.

The result is that GE and Siemens are being forced to drive down costs dramatically in their core power businesses. Siemens is looking to cut thousands of jobs in its power and gas unit....while both groups face a turbulent environment, the immediate outlook is considerably brighter at Siemens, which appears to be better positioned to adjust to the disruption sweeping through the energy industry....GE’s 2017 has been a disaster.....GE's CEO, John Flannery, has already moved fast to signal his intentions: clearing out many top executives, grounding corporate jets, stopping the cars provided to senior managers, cutting back the network of global research centres and promising to sell peripheral and underperforming businesses worth up to $20bn....GE's sales of aeroderivative gas turbines, used to support grids at times of peak load, were half the planned numbers, while sales of packages for improving the performance of gas-fired plants were just a third of projections.....“All major vendors got the market [i.e. for gas turbines] wrong,” ...The next big worry is servicing for turbines — once a gold mine but one that is bound to decline as new orders fall. With turbines being sold at no margin or sometimes at a loss, competition for servicing contracts is heating up, further eroding margins.

For the foreseeable future, the gas turbine market is likely to remain difficult,...“The question is whether this is just a cyclical problem, or whether there is something structural in the industry that is really starting to cause problems.”

There is good reason to think that it is structural, given the plunge in solar and wind costs. ... “a combination of rooftop solar and battery storage could make economic sense in India, African countries and other places where they don’t have well-developed power grids”......According to the IEA, in 2016 $316bn was invested in renewable energy worldwide last year, almost three times as much as the $117bn in fossil fuel power generation.....If Mr Flannery founders, then breaking up GE might come to seem like the only option left to investors. It would not magically dispel the problems of the business, and would be difficult because of the group’s complex tax position and liabilities, including insurance claims dating from before GE pulled out of the industry in 2004-2006.

To avoid a break-up, GE might follow the template Siemens created in 2014 for a more decentralised structure. Mr Kaeser calls it a “fleet of ships” model, with divisions becoming semi-autonomous and separately listed. Siemens’ largest division, its medical equipment unit, is scheduled to list next year.

“The time of old-fashioned conglomerates is over,” he says. “They are definitely not going to survive.”
CEOs  Siemens  GE  industrial_age  founders  19th_century  decentralization  conglomerates  renewable  obsolescence  solar  batteries  cost-cutting  turnarounds  divestitures  wind_power  under-performing  power_grid  electric_power 
november 2017 by jerryking
Live Interviews With C.E.O.s of Uber, AT&T and More: DealBook Conference - The New York Times
NOV. 9, 2017 | New York TImes | By DEALBOOK.

Why the new DealBook is your must-read.

Over the past several years, business has become inextricably linked with policy — in Washington, in Brussels, in Beijing — like never before. That’s why we’re reimagining DealBook with a renewed focus on the intersection of these crosscurrents, as well as a broader frame on the world of business to include technology, innovation, philanthropy and corporate governance.

DealBook will aim to identify, curate and prioritize the most critical information, providing a trusted one-stop-shop for the business and policy developments that matter. You’ll also be able to read the live, updated DealBook report here.

And yes, we’re still covering the world of deals as much as ever before. (You may have notice we’ve been subtly experimenting with this evolution in coverage over the past couple of months.)

Many of you — some 300,000-plus subscribers to our newsletter alone — have been with us since the very beginning. Thank you.

We would love to hear your feedback. And if you like what you see, we’d be grateful if you would recommend us to a friend or co-worker.

Thanks for your support.
conferences  Andrew_Sorkin  CEOs  interviews  Colin_Kaepernick 
november 2017 by jerryking
The next Coco Chanel will be a coder
Aug. 26, 2017 | The Financial Times. p4. | by Federico Marchetti.

Eager to know what the next big thing in luxury will be? I am utterly convinced that digital talent will be as important to fashio...
brands  CEOs  coding  digital_influencers  digital_savvy  fashion  Instagram  luxury  Yoox  from notes
november 2017 by jerryking
How to Be a C.E.O., From a Decade’s Worth of Them
T OCT. 27, 2017 | The New York Times | Corner Office By ADAM BRYAN.

It started with a simple idea: What if I sat down with chief executives, and never asked them about their companies?.....not about pivoting, scaling or moving to the cloud, but how they lead their employees, how they hire, and the life advice they give or wish they had received....C.E.O.s offer a rare vantage point for spotting patterns about management, leadership and human behavior....What's the best path to becoming a chief executive? No one path... too many variables, many of them beyond your control, including luck, timing and personal chemistry. Bryan cites three recurring themes.

First, they share a habit of mind that is best described as “applied curiosity.”...They make the most of whatever path they’re on, wringing lessons from all their experiences.
Second, C.E.O.s seem to love a challenge. Discomfort is their comfort zone.
The third theme is how they managed their own careers on their way to the top. They focus on doing their current job well, and that earns them promotions... focus on building a track record of success, and people will keep betting on you.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part I - understand that leadership as a series of paradoxes.
The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part II - the most important qualities of effective leadership? trustworthiness, “If you want to lead others, you’ve got to have their trust, and you can’t have their trust without integrity,” A close cousin of trustworthiness is how much you respect the people who work for you....“By definition if there’s leadership, it means there are followers, and you’re only as good as the followers,” he said. “I believe the quality of the followers is in direct correlation to the respect you hold them in. It’s not how much they respect you that is most important. It’s actually how much you respect them. It’s everything.”
‘Culture Is Almost Like a Religion’ - “No matter what people say about culture, it’s all tied to who gets promoted, who gets raises and who gets fired,” he said. “You can have your stated culture, but the real culture is defined by compensation, promotions and terminations. Basically, people seeing who succeeds and fails in the company defines culture. The people who succeed become role models for what’s valued in the organization, and that defines culture.”
Men vs. Women (Sigh) - distinctions in leadership style are less about gender and more about factors like whether they are introverts or extroverts, more analytical or creative, and even whether they grew up in a large or small family....the actual work of leadership? It’s the same, regardless of whether a man or a woman is in charge. You have to set a vision, build cultural guardrails, foster a sense of teamwork, and make tough calls. All of that requires balancing the endless paradoxes of leadership, and doing it in a way that inspires trust.
I Have Just One Question for You - If you could ask somebody only one question, and you had to decide on the spot whether to hire them based on their answer, what would it be?.....“So if I ask you, ‘What are the qualities you like least and most in your parents?’ you might bristle at that, or you might be very curious about it, or you’ll just literally open up to me. And obviously if you bristle at that, it’s too vulnerable an environment for you.”
My Favorite Story -..... It’s work ethic,” he said. “You could see the guy had charted a path for himself to make it work with the situation he had. He didn’t ask for any help. He wasn’t victimized by the thing. He just said, ‘That’s my dad’s business, and I work there.’ Confident. Proud.”

Mr. Green added: “You sacrifice and you’re a victim, or you sacrifice because it’s the right thing to do and you have pride in it. Huge difference. Simple thing. Huge difference.”

Best Career and Life Advice - biggest career inflection points, he told me, came from chance meetings, giving rise to his advice: “Play in traffic.”

“It means that if you go push yourself out there and you see people and do things and participate and get involved, something happens,” he said. “Both of my great occasions in life happened by accident simply because I showed up.”“I tell people, just show up, get in the game, go play in traffic,” Mr. Plumeri said. “Something good will come of it, but you’ve got to show up.”....from Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University. Her suggestion to students:

“They should never assume that they can predict what experiences will teach them the most about what they value, or about what their life should be,” she said. “You have to be open and alert at every turn to the possibility that you’re about to learn the most important lesson of your life.”
howto  human_behavior  CEOs  career_paths  Managing_Your_Career  curiosity  discomforts  values  hard_work  trustworthiness  paradoxes  pairs  organizational_culture  gender_gap  work_ethic  playing_in_traffic  compensation  rewards  beyond_one's_control  guardrails  inflection_points 
october 2017 by jerryking
Globe editorial: Banning a word isn’t going to help Indigenous Canadians - The Globe and Mail
There are scores of reserves across this country still under boil-water advisories. Indigenous Canadians live shorter lives than their fellow citizens, have lower incomes, are less likely to be in school or have a job, and more likely to be in jail. These are the real issues. The problem is not that job titles like "chief financial officer" exist. The problem is that too few native Canadians occupy such jobs, and too few are in a position to do so.

That's not something that can be fixed by purging a word.
aboriginals  political_correctness  TDSB  CTOs  CEOs 
october 2017 by jerryking
Disney’s Big Bet on Streaming Relies on Little-Known Tech Company
OCT. 8, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES and JOHN KOBLIN.

For two days in June 2017, Disney’s board of directors wrestled with one topic: how technology was disrupting the company’s traditional movie, television and theme park businesses, and what to do about it?.....Cord cutting was accelerating much faster than expected. Live viewing for some children’s programming was in free fall......Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive and chairman, proposed a legacy-defining move. It was time for Disney to double down on streaming..... bet the entertainment giant’s future on a wonky, little-known technology company housed in a former cookie factory: BamTech.....Based in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, the 850-employee company has a strong track record — no serious glitches, even when delivering tens of millions of live streams at a time. BamTech also has impressive advertising technology (inserting ads in video based on viewer location) and a strong reputation for attracting and keeping viewers, not to mention billing them.....BamTech grew out of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, or Bam for short, which was founded in 2000 as a way to help teams create websites. By 2002, Bam was experimenting with streaming video as a way for out-of-town fans to watch games.

Soon, Bam developed technology that attracted outside clients, including the WWE, Fox Sports, PlayStation Vue and Hulu. HBO went to Bam in 2014 after failing to create a reliable stand-alone streaming service on its own. Could Bam get HBO up and running — in just a few months? Bam built HBO Now for roughly $50 million, delivering it just in time for the Season 5 premiere of “Game of Thrones,” which went off flawlessly. “They were nothing short of herculean for us,” said Richard Plepler, HBO’s chief executive.

In 2015, Bam decided to spin off its streaming division, calling it BamTech. With an eye toward its own direct-to-consumer future, particularly with ESPN, Disney paid $1 billion in 2016 for a 33 percent stake and an option to buy a controlling interest in 2020. To run the stand-alone company, M.L.B. and Disney recruited Michael Paull, 46, from Amazon, where he oversaw Prime Video and the introduction of Amazon Channels.....Disney contends that a big part of BamTech’s value has been overlooked. Down the road, as other media companies move toward streaming, BamTech intends to sign them up as clients.....Though BamTech has proved its streaming bona fides, it still lacks the algorithms and the personalization skills that have helped propel Netflix to success. To fill that gap, Mr. Paull recently hired the former chief technology officer of the F.B.I. to be the head of analytics.....The level of engineering required for that enormous volume of content is no small matter. Each bit of streamable content has to be made to fit a dizzying number of requirements. Start with web browsers, ranging from Safari to Chrome or Explorer, all of which have slightly different demands. It also has to fit every iPhone and Android phone. And then there are connected living room devices like Apple TV.
algorithms  BamTech  big_bets  boards_&_directors_&_governance  CEOs  cord-cutting  digital_savvy  digital_strategies  Disney  disruption  entertainment  game_changers  personalization  Quickplay  sports  sportscasting  streaming  theme_parks  direct-to-consumer 
october 2017 by jerryking
Best Buy’s Secrets for Thriving in the Amazon Age
SEPT. 18, 2017 | The New York Times | By KEVIN ROOSE.

Here are the keys to Best Buy’s turnaround, according to Mr. Joly:

1. Price, price, price

The most worrisome trend in big-box retail was “showrooming” .....To combat showrooming and persuade customers to complete their purchases at Best Buy, Mr. Joly announced a price-matching guarantee....Price-matching costs Best Buy real money, but it also gives customers a reason to stay in the store, and avoids handing business to competitors.

2. Focus on humans

Mr. Joly also realized that if Best Buy was going to compete with Amazon, which has spent billions building a speedy delivery system and plans to use drones to become even more efficient, it needed to get better at things that robots can’t do well — namely, customer service & customer experience....Best Buy fixed its internal product search engine. It also restored a much-loved employee discount that had been suspended and embarked on an ambitious program to retrain its employees so they could answer questions about entirely new categories of electronics, such as virtual reality headsets and smart home appliances.....Customers had always loved Best Buy’s Geek Squad.....sometimes, people needed help before they bought big and expensive gadgets. So it started an adviser program that allows customers to get free in-home consultations about what product they should buy, and how it should be installed....a pilot program last year, the service is now being rolled out nationwide.

3. Turn brick-and-mortar into showcase-and-ship

Best Buy’s online ordering system was completely divorced from its stores. If a customer placed an order on the website, it would ship from a central warehouse. If that warehouse didn’t have the item in stock, the customer was out of luck.....Mr. Joly realized that with some minor changes, each of Best Buy’s 1,000-plus big-box stores could ship packages to customers, serving as a mini warehouse for its surrounding area. Now, when a customer orders a product on Best Buy’s website, the item is sent from the location that can deliver it the fastest — a store down the street, perhaps, or a warehouse five states away. It was a small, subtle change, but it allowed Best Buy to improve its shipping times, and made immediate gratification possible for customers. Now, roughly 40 % of Best Buy’s online orders are either shipped or picked up from a store.

Best Buy also struck deals with large electronics companies like Samsung, Apple and Microsoft to feature their products in branded areas within the store. Now, rather than jamming these companies’ products next to one another on shelves, Best Buy allows them to set up their own dedicated kiosks. (Apple’s area inside a Best Buy, for example, has the same sleek wooden tables and minimalist design as an Apple Store.) It’s a concept borrowed from department stores, and it’s created a lucrative new revenue stream. Even Amazon has set up kiosks in Best Buy stores to show off its voice-activated Alexa gadgets.

4. Cut costs quietly

Almost every business turnaround plan includes cutting costs. Best Buy has used the scalpel as quietly as possible, gradually letting leases expire for unprofitable stores and consolidating its overseas divisions, trimming a layer of middle managers in 2014, and reassigned roughly 400 Geek Squad employees within the company. No public rounds of layoffs, which can crater employee morale and create a sinking-ship vibe.

Best Buy has also found more creative penny-pinching methods. Once, the company noticed that an unusually high number of flat-screen TVs were being dropped in its warehouses. It revamped the handling process, reducing the number of times TVs were picked up by a clamp lift and adding new carts to prevent TV boxes from falling over. The changes resulted in less broken inventory and bigger profits.

5. Get lucky, stay humble and don’t tempt fate

It’s lucky that the products it specializes in selling, like big-screen TVs and high-end audio equipment, are big-ticket items that many customers still feel uncomfortable buying sight unseen from a website. It’s lucky that several large competitors have gone out of business, shrinking its list of rivals. And it’s lucky that the vendors who make the products it sells, like Apple and Samsung, have kept churning out expensive blockbuster gadgets.

“They’re at the mercy of the product cycles,” said Stephen Baker, a tech industry analyst at NPD Group. “If people stop buying PCs or they don’t care about big-screen TVs anymore, they have a challenge.”

Mr. Joly knows that despite Best Buy’s recent momentum, it’s not out of the woods yet. To succeed over the long term, it will need to do more than cut costs and match prices. Walmart, another big-box behemoth, is investing billions of dollars in a digital expansion with the acquisition of e-commerce companies like Jet and Bonobos, and could prove to be a fierce rival. Amazon has been expanding into brick-and-mortar retail with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and is moving into Best Buy’s home installation and services market....
“Once you’ve had a near-death experience,” he said, “arrogance, if you had it in your bones, has disappeared forever.”
Amazon  Best_Buy  big-box  CEOs  turnarounds  pilot_programs  nationwide  contra-Amazon  brands  kiosks  cost-cutting  luck  Wal-Mart  Jet  Bonobos  pricing  showrooming  price-matching  customer_service  search_engines  in-home  BOPIS  Samsung  Apple  Microsoft  store_within_a_store  consumer_electronics  product_cycles  customer_experience 
september 2017 by jerryking
Daniel S. Schwartz of Restaurant Brands International on the Value of Hard Work
SEPT. 8, 2017 | The New York Times| By ADAM BRYANT.

When you think about your leadership style today, do you see their[his parent's] influence?

Probably the biggest influence they’ve had is about always being very respectful of other people. Neither of them led teams or organizations, but there was always this emphasis on kindness and manners and just being a good person.

I always have that in the back of my head, regardless of who I’m talking to. The world’s a small place, life’s short, and so you should only be nice to people. I don’t raise my voice at work. I don’t have tantrums.......Alex Behring, who heads up 3G, gave me some great advice early on. He said that you have to manage the people, not the business. .....What were other early lessons for you?

If you want to change something or if you want to really influence or impact someone, you need to be in that person’s market and be with them face to face. You can’t run a multinational business from your desk. You can’t just get on the phone and tell the people that you need to do things differently.

If you make the trip, that’s a big investment of time for you. People appreciate that, and they’re going to be more open to your feedback. You’ll also have more credibility because you’ve seen their business and been in their market......How do you hire?

I like people who are passionate, who have persevered and who are clearly humble and not arrogant. It’s O.K. to be confident, but not arrogant. I like people who genuinely are looking for a project and not a job.
CEOs  hard_work  Tim_Hortons  Popeyes  Burger_King  hiring  leadership  3G_Capital  RBI  Daniel_Schwartz  lessons_learned  humility 
september 2017 by jerryking
Global shipping boss charts course through troubled waters
August 14, 2017 | Financial Times | by Richard Milne.

When AP Moller-Maersk came under cyber attack this year, chief executive Soren Skou was presented with a very basic problem: how to contact anyone. The June attack was so devastating that the Danish conglomerate shut down all its IT systems. The attack hit Maersk hard. Its container ships stood still at sea and its 76 port terminals around the world ground to a halt. ...Skou had no intuitive idea on how to move forward....Skou was “at a loss”, but he decided to do three things quickly.
(1) “I got deep in.” He participated in all crisis calls and meetings. “To begin with, I was just trying to find out what was happening. It was important to be visible, and take some decisions,” he says. Maersk is a conglomerate, so IT workers needed to know whether to get a system working for its oil business or container shipping line first.
(2) He focused on internal and external communication. Maersk sent out daily updates detailing which ports were open and closed; which booking systems were running and more. It also constructed a makeshift booking service from scratch.
(3)Skou says he made sure frontline staff in the 130 countries it operates in were able to “do what you think is right to serve the customer — don’t wait for the HQ, we’ll accept the cost”.

He says that he has learnt there is no way to prevent an attack. But in future, the company must “isolate an attack quicker and restore systems quicker”. He adds that Maersk will now approach its annual risk management exercises in a different spirit. “Until you have experienced something like this — people call them ‘black swan’ events — you don’t realize just what can happen, just how serious it can be.”

Danish conglomerate AP Moller-Maersk is planning to expand into transport and logistics ...

....Mr Skou’s plan for Maersk is about shrinking the company to grow — a “counterintuitive” approach, he concedes. Maersk’s revenues have stagnated since the global financial crisis and the solution has been to jettison what has often been its main provider of profits, the oil business.

In its place, Mr Skou has already placed his bet on consolidation in the shipping industry.....His real push is in bringing together the container shipping, port terminals, and freight forwarding businesses so as to make it “as simple to send a container from one end of the world to the other as it is to send a parcel with FedEx or UPS”. That requires quite a cultural shift in a group where independence was previously prized.....Another priority is to digitalise the group. “It is pretty messy,” Mr Skou says cheerfully. Unlike most businesses selling to consumers who offer few possibilities to change much, almost everything is up for negotiation between Maersk and its business customers — from delivery time, destination, cost, speed, and so on. “It’s easy to talk about digitalising things; it’s quite difficult to do in a B2B environment. It’s hard to digitalise that complexity,”
crisis  crisis_management  malware  cyber_security  cyberattacks  conglomerates  black_swan  improbables  CEOs  Denmark  Danish  IT  information_systems  think_threes  post-deal_integration  internal_communications  counterintuitive  digitalization  shipping  ports  containers  Maersk 
august 2017 by jerryking
Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O. - The New York Times
David Brooks AUG. 11, 2017
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Google  censorship  culture  David_Brooks  CEOs  firings  Sundar_Pichai 
august 2017 by jerryking
Lego Turns to Digitally-Savvy Dane as Its New CEO - WSJ
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Updated Aug. 10, 2017

Lego named named Niels B. Christiansen, the 51-year-old former boss of Danish industrial group Danfoss A/S, as its new CEO. He replaces Bali Padda, a 61-year-old Brit who in December became Lego’s first non-Danish chief since its foundation in 1932.....The appointment comes as Lego, which employs 18,500 people, grapples with slowing sales growth and competition from smartphone apps and videogames. It is locked in battle with Mattel Inc. to be the world’s largest toy company by sales. For now, Mattel is slightly bigger, with $5.46 billion in revenue last year. Lego sales rose 6% last year to $5.38 billion, following a decade of double-digit growth, after a big marketing push in the U.S. failed to lift stalled sales there......Like rival Mattel, Lego is intensely focused on modernizing its toys for a digital era in which children spend more time on tablet computers and smartphones. The company launched an app in February that functions as a mini-social network, allowing children to share what they build online. It has also created Lego Boost, which combines computer coding with brick play, and is focusing on ways to use smartphones to bridge physical and digital play.

The executive reshuffle comes as arch rival Mattel has also sharpened its focus on technology. Earlier this year it named Margaret Georgiadis, a former president of Americas at Alphabet Inc.’s Google as its new CEO......Mr. Christiansen as having “transformed a traditional industrial company into a technology leader” while at Danfoss. He said the new CEO would look for digital opportunities in everything from sourcing and manufacturing to engaging with consumers and retailers, who are increasingly moving online.
Lego  brands  digital_strategies  Denmark  CEOs  appointments  toys  Mattel  play  product_launches 
august 2017 by jerryking
TV chief looks beyond cable for the voyage of Discovery
5 August/6 August 2017 | Financial Times | by Shannon Bond.

"Swallowing Scripps marks a return to focus to the U.S. Zaslav is looking to the company for more content to bulk up his offerings, on traditional pay-TV and new digital outlets such as Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Snapchat. "Content has always been our north star", he said this week.
Discovery  mergers_&_acquisitions  Scripps  CATV  CEOs  John_Malone  North_Star  content  consolidation 
august 2017 by jerryking
Stanford dropout with a magical touch
Jul 14, 2017 | Financial Times | by: Hannah Kuchler.

Evan Spiegel refuses to be scared of Facebook. Confidence helped the 27-year-old Snap chief executive take a photo messaging app from a Stanford University coursework project to an almost $20bn initial public offering. The threat of Facebook has been following all the way.

In 2013, when the company behind Snapchat was just two years old, its co-founder (his partner was a fellow student, Bobby Murphy) was quizzed on stage about Poke, Facebook’s first attempt at imitating the app’s photo messaging. “Certainly it is scary when a giant enters your space and you are a small company,” Mr Spiegel said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. He laughed it off: Poke failed, and that became the “greatest Christmas present we ever had”.

But the world’s largest social network does not give up and has relentlessly imitated Snapchat since Mr Spiegel turned down its $3bn acquisition offer in 2013. Earlier this year, just as Snap headed for the public markets, Facebook finally succeeded in popularising a version of “Stories” in four of its apps — the Snapchat feature that expires after 24 hours.......an unlikely analogy..... “Just because Yahoo, for example, has a search box, it doesn’t mean they are Google.”......Mr Spiegel, who dropped out of Stanford, was the first chief executive from a new wave of highly valued tech start-ups to brave the public markets. It paid off personally: he became a multi-billionaire when he took Snap public....Spiegel is soaking up advice “like a sponge” from senior management and the board, which includes Michael Lynton, former chief executive of Sony Pictures and AG Lafley, former chief executive of Procter & Gamble.....Praised as a product genius who instinctively understands the desires of his young audience, Mr Spiegel now has to learn to be a public company leader, managing the expectations of investors who want to compare Snap to Facebook and Mr Spiegel to Mark Zuckerberg......By designing the disappearing photos that made Snapchat famous, Mr Spiegel completely rethought the camera. Photos became transient conversations, not kept for posterity; social media became a way to be creative — and silly — with your close friends, not flick through a feed of near strangers.....Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, told the Financial Times it plans to double its spending to $200m on Snap this year. But, he added, WPP will spend over 10 times more on Facebook.

...
dropouts  Stanford  IPOs  Snap  Snapchat  CEOs  Evan_Spiegel  WPP  Martin_Sorrell  product_development  product-orientated  public_companies  investors'_expectations  10x 
july 2017 by jerryking
Digital endurance runner picks up pace with Penguin deal
July 15/16, 2017 | Financial Times | Guy Chazan

Bertelsmann's latest big investment, in Penguin Randon House (PRH), a traditional ink-on-paper publisher. .The German group, which already owns 53% of PRH, will pay $780m to buy an additional 22% from its partner, Pearson......The deal seems at odds with Bertelsmann's digital-first strategy. Rabe sees no contradiction....Bertelsmann must maintain a balance between high-growth investments and stable, cash-generative businesses like PRH....It margins are high,[and it] contributes to the cash flows Bertelsmann needs to invest in new businesses with higher growth potential than book publishing.....Mr. Rabe has responded by diversifying Bertelsmann out of Europe, investing in digital start-ups in China, India and Brazil and branching into online education in the US. The bright digital-first future is still far off. But Rabe , an endurance runner, relishes a long and winding road.
CEOs  digital_media  Bertelsmann  online_education  high-growth  Pearson  publishing  digital_first  cash-generative  cash_flows  privately_held_companies  Germany  German  cash_cows 
july 2017 by jerryking
Don Mal on the Relentless Pursuit of Making Your Numbers
JULY 7, 2017 | The New York Times | By ADAM BRYANT.

How have your parents influenced your leadership style?

I’ve learned a lot from my father, probably more about what not to do. I respect him and learned a lot about work ethic.

But my father was a bit more of an old-school entrepreneur, with less planning. I learned I needed to be much more organized. In anything I do now, I’m continuously planning, because you have to manage risk. You have to have a Plan B.

So what are your best questions?

To understand their work ethic, I do ask this question: Would you be willing to leave your family at Disneyland to do something that was really important for the company?

Some people have said no, and I haven’t hired them.....To me, it’s not so much a loyalty question. It’s more of just trying to understand their work ethic.....And it’s my sales thing. It’s the relentless pursuit of the number. And at some point it does matter. You have to make your numbers. Whether you’re a public or a private company, you’ve got to make your numbers. So you do whatever it takes, without doing anything wrong or unethical.....What career and life advice do you give to new college grads?

I think it’s important to remind people, especially in this millennial culture we have now, that life is not going to be handed to you. Whatever you want out of life, you’ve got to earn it.
salespeople  commitment  CEOs  software  no_excuses  Plan_B  risk-management  work_ethic  work_life_balance 
july 2017 by jerryking
The Angst of Endangered CEOs: ‘How Much Time Do I Have?’ - WSJ
By Vanessa Fuhrmans and Joann S. Lublin
Updated July 5, 2017

An array of challenges—from increasing impatience on Wall Street and in boardrooms to a corporate landscape rapidly transformed by new technologies and rival upstarts—have made the top job tougher and more precarious than just a few years ago, top executives say.
CEOs  turnover  boards_&_directors_&_governance  unsentimental  Joann_S._Lublin  endangered 
july 2017 by jerryking
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