Monday, January 2, 2012

Dealing with Crisis: Five Leaders Speak Out

For one CEO, the challenge was to use the company's near bankruptcy as a catalyst to emphasize customer service, set up new partnerships and recommit to R&D. For another CEO, the first test of leadership was firing the top management team and whole board of directors. For another, it was initiating a strategy that flew in the face of traditional industry practices. A fourth CEO talked about missing the critical feedback he got from colleagues early in his career, while a fifth said she makes a point of identifying 25 junior people in the company who will be the next generation of leaders.
The five leaders mentioned above -- Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO of Xerox, Edward Breen, CEO of Tyco, Aditya Mittal, president and CFO of Mittal Steel, Arthur Weinbach, CEO of Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Michelle Peluso, CEO of Travelocity -- spoke to Wharton students and/or to Knowledge@Wharton during recent visits to campus. Their thoughts on management clearly reflect their own personal journeys up the leadership ladder, but, as is often the case, they agreed on some of the skills necessary to run a company in 2005: a constant focus on the customer, a commitment to globalization, the importance of finding and motivating the right mix of employees, and a willingness for both corporations and individuals to take on risk.

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