A chief executive officer wields an awesome power over his companies’ policies, employees and principles—and just how sustainable each will be. So when a previously ungreen CEO decides to adopt an ecologically responsible agenda, the effects can be wide-reaching, and exceptionally inspiring.
The power of a CEO to make – or break – a brand can never be overestimated – even in an interview that took place 7 years ago.
As Mason himself acknowledged in his resignation letter to employees, “If you're wondering why ... you haven't been paying attention."
One of the most courageous acts of leadership is to forgo the temptation to take revenge on those on the other side of an issue or those who opposed the leader's rise to power.
Nike's Mark Parker brings together extreme talents, whether they're basketball stars, tattooists, or designers obsessed with shoes.
When IBM recently polled 1500 CEOs across 60 countries, they rated creativity as the most important leadership competency. Eighty percent of the CEOs said the business environment is growing so complex that it literally demands new ways of thinking. Less than 50 percent said they believed their organizations were equipped to deal effectively with this rising complexity. But are CEOs and senior leaders really willing to make the transformational moves necessary to foster cultures of real creativity and innovation?
With reports that the oil gusher in the Gulf is nearly kaput, BP's new CEO announced Friday that the company would scale back its cleanup efforts in areas where there is no more oil. Makes sense. Still bad for the brand, though. There are two problems with which BP must contend, one situational and the other conceptual.
In psychology, the term "identified patient" refers to a family member — often a child or a teenager — who gets scapegoated for behavior that is actually just a predictable response to dealing with an unhealthy family. Tony Hayward is BP's identified patient.
BP’s board is expected on Monday to name an American, Robert Dudley, as its chief executive, replacing Tony Hayward, whose repeated stumbles during the company’s three-month oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico alienated federal and state officials as well as residents of the Gulf Coast. The planned appointment of an American to run the London-based company, which was confirmed by a person close to BP’s board, would underscore how vital the United States has become to BP.
A brand crisis can take many forms, which can linger differing lengths of time, depending on the survivability of the brand. Every corporate brand crisis is unique; each has a starting point when the CEO becomes responsible for the survival of the company. BP's bumbling management of its Gulf crisis, its seemingly endless decision-making process, not to mention post-crisis effects that will last decades, make this crisis unprecedented. Tyco, Texaco, Dynegy, IBM, Enron, Worldcom and Citigroup are a few of the crises we've studied. Some companies survived not only intact but emerged stronger than ever. Others were destroyed, or forced to merge. A handful limped on, weakened but not ruined.
Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest soft-drink maker, posted a 16 percent increase in second-quarter profit as North American sales volumes climbed for the first time since 2007. Net income rose to $2.37 billion, or $1.02 a share, the company said today in a statement. Excluding some items, profit was $1.06, compared with the $1.03 average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Beverage volume in North America advanced 2 percent, compared with a 1 percent decline a year ago.
Zappos, the online shoe retailer, is legendary for its employee culture and customer service. Paying employees to quit; offering customers free shipping both ways and a year to make returns; and hiring 24/7 phone reps who are as courteous, kind, and upbeat as Four Seasons concierges are all part of the Zappos formula. When I caught up with CEO Tony Hsieh in California a few months ago, we spoke about how his company's culture came to be, and about selling the company to Amazon for $850 million last summer (a deal now worth more than $1 billion with the appreciation of Amazon's stock).
What do senior management executives at CPG companies and retailers think about corporate social media strategies? Top executives were probed on this topic, along with many others, as part of the research for a just-released 2010 Grocery Manufacturers Association/PricewaterhouseCoopers financial performance report -- and the insights gleaned are more specific and practical than marketers might imagine.
Many departments within a corporation will argue the need for accountability in marketing, but none steps forward to take ownership of how to account for brand equity. Theoretically, the CEO is responsible for the value of the corporate brand. Unfortunately, it is a rare CEO who understands how brand equity value is created. CEOs would love to see their company prosper, but few understand how to take command or utilize the tools available to make it so.
The Burgerville QSR chain is using a branded YouTube channel, Burgerville TV, to combine its fresh, local, sustainable food brand message with the support of grassroots community efforts that contribute to the accessibility of sustainable food. The new branded channel is hosted by president/CEO Jeff Harvey, who introduces the brand-posted videos offered.
Riding high on its "Write the Future" world football campaign, Nike executives announced that fourth-quarter profits came in strong and say its proactive strategy throughout the recession is paying off in a big way. "I said a year ago that Nike is not a 'wait and see' company, and we weren't about to let our core strengths sit idle," Mark Parker, president and CEO.
There’s no shortage of big initiatives going on at Facebook these days. We sat down with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week to talk about the state and future of Facebook and its surrounding ecosystem. Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on recent changes to the Facebook Platform, competitive dynamics he desires amongst developers, the surprising growth of the social games business on Facebook overall, his vision for Facebook Credits, market perceptions of Facebook’s revenue streams and overall revenue numbers, what the company learned from its period of serious interest in Twitter, and Facebook’s company culture around money.
By the time Howard Schultz stepped down as chief executive of Starbucks, in 2000, the coffee chain was one of the world’s most recognizable brands—and on a steady trajectory of growth. Eight years later Starbucks was suffering from a rough economy and its own strategic missteps, and Schultz felt compelled to return to the CEO seat. His previous tenure had seen promising growth, but now he faced a challenging mission: to lead a turnaround of the company he had built. In this condensed and edited interview, Schultz discusses what it’s like to retake the reins in the middle of a crisis.
Today at the World Innovation Forum, Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler spoke openly about what it takes to be innovative, even in times of great uncertainty. Kindler believes that innovation is essential for any company's survival, and as one recent poll showed, Kindler is not alone in his thinking among CEOs.
Undeterred by criticism of a new TV commercial featuring its leader, BP PLC is pressing ahead with a major ad campaign—in an effort to rescue its badly damaged image—as torrents of oil continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. "We are preparing a series of ads to air over the next days and weeks," said Andrew Gowers, a spokesman for the British oil company. President Barack Obama blasted the company on Friday for reportedly spending $50 million on television advertising as the company scrambles to fix its leaking well.
BP's new commercial featuring CEO Tony Hayward hit YouTube and US TV yesterday. The damage control isn't just aimed at BP's brand, but the "gaffe-prone" Hayward and images such as AP's latest. After addressing BP on CNN last night, a "furious" President Obama is heading to the disaster site again today. And crowdsourcing solutions to the spill is officially a cottage industry.
For many men, spending a day shopping is akin to having one's gums scraped. But The Men's Wearhouse wants to demonstrate the understanding it has for its target with a new campaign asserting the store is "A place where men belong."
Gerd Leonhard is CEO of The Futures Agency, and has been described as "one of the leading media futurists in the world" for his views on the development of next-generation business models in the content, communications & technology industries.
What do chief executive officers really want? The answer bears important consequences for management as well as companies' customers and shareholders. The qualities that a CEO values most in the company team set a standard that affects everything from product development and sales to the long-term success of an enterprise. There is compelling new evidence that CEOs' priorities in this area are changing in important ways. According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value, CEOs identify "creativity" as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.
BP's chief said the company could have done more to prepare for a deepwater oil leak, as the British oil giant met with affected residents Thursday and embarked on fresh efforts to stem the vast slick now threatening the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. BP PLC Chief Executive Tony Hayward has come under mounting pressure over the spill, caused after a drilling rig BP was leasing, the Deepwater Horizon, caught fire and sank last month. The accident killed 11 workers and raised fears of widespread ecological damage.
We gathered up expert advice from Tim Bray of Google (Google), Guy Kawasaki of Alltop (formerly Apple), Doug Ulman of Livestrong, John Battelle of Federated Media and Steve Rubel of Edelman on the why and the how when it comes to C-level executives and social media. Their tips and advice range from practice to crucial and point to the need for C-suite executives of this generation to heed social media.
Nike Inc. Chief Executive Mark Parker took an unusual path to the top: The former Penn State University runner spent years as a shoe designer before starting to climb the corporate ladder. Now, he's taking Nike in a new direction, targeting overseas expansion—and not just with the Nike "swoosh." Last week he set the ambitious goal of increasing sales 40%, to $27 billion, by 2015. To achieve that while Nike sales growth in the U.S. is slowing, he's betting on such markets as China, India and Brazil, and on their burgeoning middle classes.
Yesterday may have seen a plummeting stock market, but that's yesterday. For the next five years, the world's leader in athletic shoes is planning to run with the bulls. In the company's first meeting with analysts in three years, Nike boldly proclaimed it has plans to fuel growth by more than 40% over the next five years, hitting $27 billion in annual sales versus its $19.2 billion sales tally for last year.
The next generation of Ford's Sync technology will turn its cars into rolling, talking, socially networked, cloud-connected supermachines. Introducing America's most surprising consumer-electronics company.
Procter & Gamble Co. became the first corporate inductee to the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame on March 25, and while it's a big honor, it could be seen as a mixed blessing. After all, the other inductees are retired, and many have been honored posthumously, while P&G still considers itself very much in the game. In an interview with Advertising Age prior to the induction, P&G Chairman-CEO Bob McDonald said avoiding the trap of leaning too heavily on the company's marketing legacy is one thing that keeps him up at night. Increased focus on digital marketing, he said, is one of the keys to P&G's strategy to remain a leading marketer.
Jezper Söderlund, a music producer in Gothenburg, Sweden, was thrilled to receive a one-word e-mail message earlier this month. The word was “no.” The sender of the e-mail message was perhaps the most famous businessman in the world, Steven P. Jobs, chief executive of Apple.
The internet has changed the way we do research. Sure it's cheap and fast, but is the ability to get instant data actually making executives smarter about market opportunities? Not always. In too many companies, online research creates an illusion of rigor while actually sowing confusion about market truths, leading executives -- in particular CEOs and CMOs -- to miss the big picture and waste opportunities right under their noses.
Americans, we the people, have become a distrustful lot of late, hardly surprising news given our Recessionary new world order that is rammed home daily in headlines detailing the failures, cover-ups, and worse, of corporate America and its leaders. Enter the 10th annual Edelman Trust Barometer 2010, not co-incidentally published (Jan. 26) during Davos, which found that, "Trust is now an essential line of business to be developed and delivered. Trust in business has improved, but the patient has a long road to go for a full recovery," according to Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman Public Relations. "The increase in trust in business belies its fragility."
For me, growing up the dinner table was of course a place to eat, but it was also a time for fellowship, sharing stories, laughing - and sometimes getting in trouble. I had a bad habit growing up of hiding food that I didn’t want to eat. Boy I thought I was smart, but of course it’s hard to fool a mom. So let’s ring the dinner bell - Don’t waste your time setting the table for your customers, if your not going to sit down and eat with them!
This interview with Tony Hsieh, the chief executive of Zappos.com, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant. Q. What are some of the most important leadership lessons you’ve learned? A. After college, a roommate and I started a company called LinkExchange in 1996, and it grew to about 100 or so people, and then we ended up selling the company to Microsoft in 1998. From the outside, it looked like it was a great acquisition, $265 million, but most people don’t know the real reason why we ended up selling the company.
After building an impressive resume that boasts stints as former president-chief operating officer of Citicorp, CEO of Medco Containment Services and chairman-CEO of Priceline.com, Rick Braddock has distilled a marketing philosophy that's become the cornerstone of his approach as CEO of FreshDirect. Indeed, Mr. Braddock, 67, had an extensive career before joining the internet grocer in 2005, attracted to its innovative model of delivering fresh food to customers in the New York metropolitan area. And what he's been working to do the last few years is make FreshDirect a company known as much for its customer service as its 2-inch-thick steaks.
How's this for a gripping corporate story line: Youthful founder gets booted from his company in the 1980s, returns in the 1990s, and in the following decade survives two brushes with death, one securities-law scandal, an also-ran product lineup, and his own often unpleasant demeanor to become the dominant personality in four distinct industries, a billionaire many times over, and CEO of the most valuable company in Silicon Valley. Sound too far-fetched to be true? Perhaps. Yet it happens to be the real-life story of Steve Jobs and his outsize impact on everything he touches. The past decade in business belongs to Jobs.
Ralph Gilles -- formerly Chrysler's wunderkind designer and the force behind vehicles like the Chrysler 300 -- is now president and CEO of the Dodge brand, and he admits he has his work cut out for him. In laying out his plans for the troubled division at a press conference during Chrysler's day-long, five-year plan event on Nov. 4, Gilles said that for the Dodge division, being best-known for the Ram truck brand is part of the challenge. "If you ask the average American what Dodge is about, they talk trucks," he conceded. "That is a bit of the problem."
Procter & Gamble Co.'s new chief is ready to deal. Facing mounting pressure to boost sliding sales and recalibrate his company, P&G CEO Robert McDonald is stepping up the hunt for acquisition and divestiture candidates, people close to the company said. Since assuming the chief executive role in July, Mr. McDonald has been trying to shake-up P&G's slow, process-heavy culture. He has increased scrutiny of P&G brands including Braun small appliances, Iams pet food, Duracell batteries and Pringles potato snacks. While those businesses have long been considered extraneous to P&G's focus on beauty, health and nonfood household staples, Mr. McDonald now is presenting an ultimatum: The leaders of those businesses are on heightened notice to prove their brands' prospects or face a sale.
Fed up with a barrage of letters that arrived at the FCC last week from net-neutrality opponents (or lawmakers urging a cautious approach toward the new rules), a coalition of Internet companies are urging the FCC chairman to hold steady. “We believe a process that results in common sense baseline rules is critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation and global competitiveness,” a group of 24 CEOs and Internet company founders wrote in a letter to be delivered to the FCC Monday in support of the proposed net-neutrality rules.
Google reported a 27% increase in profit in the third quarter, signaling the beginning of a recovery in the search-advertising market. And CEO Eric Schmidt sounded almost emphatic about the worst of the economic downturn being over. Because it is bought in near real-time, search advertising is considered a good real-time proxy for marketer sentiment. The impact of search spending is also extremely measurable; cautious marketers that believe the market hit bottom earlier this year are slowly increasing their search spending as they return to the market.
It's amazing to see and hear a CEO understanding the massive consumer change that's going on and re-orienting his company around this shift. The CEO is Andy Bond of UK grocery store, Asda (owned by Wal-Mart). To bring home his point Asda organized a media event where they invited political strategist, Philip Gould to explain the change.
Yes, he’s back. When the Apple event started today, CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to a very long standing ovation. He used his opening remarks to talk about the importance of organ donation. Jobs noted that he now had the liver of a person in their mid-20s who died in a car crash. Jobs urged everyone to think about organ donation, as it saved his life. After that, Jobs thanked Apple’s executive team, and especially Tim Cook, who steered Apple’s ship in his absence. But then it was time for Jobs to quickly move into some impressive statistics.
What was he thinking? John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, criticized Obama's approach to health care, and called for a private sector approach. Let's do the cultural math and establish how Mackey damaged the brand and took money out of share holder's pockets.
Following a recent study, "Fortune 100 CEOs Are Slackers," social media pundits have entered a heated, one-sided debate on the subject. In today's culture, current expectations are that CEOs who opt to utilize social media must essentially agree to an ongoing and continuous dialogue with anyone interested while managing their other duties. While social media has attracted tremendous attention, it has made few agencies - and only a small handful of people - any money. Why? Because the current rules of social engagement are completely unrealistic for corporate America.
Whole Foods aficionados who assumed the company's management was as crunchy as the brand are feeling betrayed. They have stormed Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere to vent their rage at John Mackey, the chief executive. In an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal last week, he argued for health-care savings accounts and declared that health care is not an intrinsic right-- ideas with a conservative bent, which made Whole Foods' liberal customer base go ballistic.
Recently, the CEO of a leading financial institution asked us, "How do we kick-start innovation throughout the organization and how do I make it self-sustaining?" This CEO seemed to be 'done' with hiring companies or consultants to do one-off innovation projects only to find that the momentum stopped the day they walked out of the door. And clearly she did not believe that one specific outside company could change the corporate culture by themselves.
The heads of the top U.S. companies might be engaged in the boardroom, but they’re switched off when it comes to social media, according to a new study that said CEOs should be more connected to their customers. Research conducted by the blog UberCEO.com looked at Fortune’s 2009 list of the top 100 CEOs to determine how many were using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, or had a blog — and found they were mostly absent from the rapidly growing social media community. The study found only two CEOs had Twitter accounts and 81 percent of CEOs did not have a personal Facebook page.
Netflix Inc. is a standout in the recession. The DVD-rental company added more subscribers than ever during the first three months of the year. Its stock has more than doubled since October. But Netflix's chief executive officer, Reed Hastings, thinks his core business is doomed. As soon as four years from now, he predicts, the business that generates most of Netflix's revenue today will begin to decline, as DVDs delivered by mail steadily lose ground to movies sent straight over the Internet. So Mr. Hastings, who co-founded the company, is quickly trying to shift Netflix's business -- seeking to make more videos available online and cutting deals with electronics makers so consumers can play those movies on television sets.
Good news, relatively speaking, for CEOs who'd like to get their faces on TV: In polling conducted among LinkedIn members for AdweekMedia, relatively few respondents said seeing the CEO in a company's advertising makes the message less credible -- though well under half said it makes the ad more credible.
"The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms," wrote the poet and social activist Muriel Rukeyser. To the schooled and scientific mind, that may sound sacrilegious, yet we know there is some truth in it. Our lives are a series of stories woven together--our own stories and the stories of those around us. In the business world, many successful top executives are very good storytellers.
It’s not every day that the president of the United States plugs your company’s product, but it happened to Alan Mulally on Tuesday, when President Obama took to the Rose Garden to unveil the administration’s new fuel economy initiative. Surrounded by environmental activists, government officials and the chief executives of the Big Three Detroit auto companies, Mr. Obama declared that by 2016, the car companies would have to produce vehicles that got, on average, 35.5 miles per gallon, a big jump from the current 27.5 miles per gallon.
In the next five years, we will see a rapidly changing landscape across the globe, where the opportunities for businesses to benefit from corporate and product branding efforts will be larger than ever before. The growing emphasis on branding will move up the boardroom agenda and I strongly believe that branding will become one of the most prominent drivers of value across the globe in the next two decades.
The failed bankers on Wall Street have been whining that if they have to cut bonuses and salaries dramatically, they'll be unable to recruit great talent, and they need great talent to fix the situation. And for years, boards have been claiming that they need to pay CEOs $50,000,000 salaries in order to recruit the very best for their companies. Jamie Dimon at Chase said, "It's possible someone's going to walk in my office and say, Jamie, I have a family. I can't afford to live that way." This, of course, is nonsense.
Of all the people who have lined up thinking they could fix AOL, Tim Armstrong, Google's head of US ad sales, is certainly the most prominent. He's been at Google almost from the beginning — originally working out of his house in Connecticut — and he has played a huge role in making Google the ad juggernaut it is today. Thanks to all that work he's probably worth more than $500 million now. All of that will be good for AOL. Will it be good for Armstrong? He thinks so, obviously. I think he's lost his marbles.
I’m really impressed with this project featuring Bigelow Tea president Cindi Bigelow asking people on the streets of New York who drinks Bigelow tea. Take a look for yourself:
You might recognize Sprint CEO Dan Hesse from those black and white commercials. When I met with him last week at a hotel bar in Oakland, Calif., two women at the next table certainly did. They treated him like a celebrity. I wouldn't go that far, but he does appear to have a good handle on the mobile industry and what Sprint--the No. 3 cell phone service provider behind AT&T and Verizon--needs to do. It's too early to know for sure, but it seems as if Hesse could be Sprint's come back kid.
The desire to burn harshly worded letters is nothing new, but Domino's decided to do it on national TV on Wednesday in prime time during Fox's "American Idol."
Mary Kay Ash, founder of the Mary Kay cosmetics company, died in 2001. But her office north of Dallas remains the way she left it. It has pink walls and a pink circular couch. The restroom, unused for almost nine years, has pink toilet paper. You can still find a pair of her shoes in a desk drawer. It's all charming — even moving. But an outsider who never met the legendary businesswoman can't help but wonder: Is the company, like the office, stuck in 2001?
The ailing creator of the iPod and iPhone is next to irreplaceable. No other chief executive is so inextricably linked to his company's brand and products. As one Wall Street analyst put it this year, "Apple is Steve Jobs, and Steve Jobs is Apple." Alas, Jobs is all too human.
After Congress told Detroit's Big Three CEOs to get back on their private jets and come back with a detailed plan the next time they came asking for a $25 billion loan, it was abundantly clear that GM, Ford and Chrysler had all terribly missed the mark from a PR and communications perspective.