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Inexorable CEO Driving A Profound Change

When the word CEO comes to my mind it reminds me of great personalities -- Jack Welch of GE, Steve Jobs of Apple, Alan Mulally of Ford Motors and Carlos Ghosn of Nissan Renault

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CEOs pursue impact relentlessly with intense commitment and in the process drive a profound change. The important underlying trait for a successful CEO is the capability to convert vision into reality over period of time. The question arises what are the key attributes that differentiates them from others? What are the qualities of successful CEOs?.... An empirical research recapitulates qualities like High Confidence, Passionate Curiosity, Team smarts, Clear view of big picture, Ability to execute vision and risk taking ability as significant.

When the word CEO comes to my mind it reminds me of great personalities -- Jack Welch of GE, Steve Jobs of Apple, Alan Mulally of Ford Motors and Carlos Ghosn of Nissan Renault. With temerity and risk taking ability they turned around businesses during uncertain times delivering value and hence change.

Let's take the example of Carlos Ghosn of Nissan Renault .Born in Brazil to French and Lebanese parents and trained as an engineer in France, he was well acquainted with the cross cultural challenges. Prior to his appointment as the CEO, the company had incurred huge losses in the previous six years and on the verge to flounder. There was a cash injection of $ 5.4 billion for an equity stake of 36 percent in Nissan intended to reduce the humongous debt.

Ghosn turned around the company that was nearly bankrupt to profitability through his unique leadership style .The first step was identifying the issues leading to losses like payment of $ 1 billion as interest exacerbated the financial stability , then setting up a cross functional team ,handpicking nearly 20 senior executives who could act as a catalyst for change and expedite the turnaround strategy .He was a team smart and designed the cost reduction strategy getting rid of the non performing units, introduced new products and brought back the company to profitability within first two years .As a leader with high integrity he was veracious in media. With the merger between Nissan and Renault the company had an access to markets in North America and Asia for Renault.

Company enjoys the exalted hegemony position ranking among the top 5 automobile maker with a global presence.

Another business leader who deserves an attention is Lakshmi Narayan Mittal. He made most of his fortune in the last two decades. He acquired series of ill managed steel company and got them into profits through his razor sharp impeccable management style.

In 1976 Mittal moved to Indonesia and found a steel plant with the name Ispat Indo. His success came from executing the touchstone strategy of buying the loss making state owned enterprises and turning them around .In Trinidad and Tobago he turned around the $ 1 million per day loss making government owned steel plant into profitable one. He was successful in executing strategy cross culturally .Some of his acquisition includes steel plant in Kazakhstan and Sircasta Mexico's third largest plant in 1992.In the year 1995 he formed two new companies Ispat International Ltd and Ispat shipping to help the existing company.

In 1994 Mittal steel was formed through merger between Ispat International and LMN holdings. In 2006 Mittal Steel acquired Arcelor making it the world's biggest steel manufacturing company .In 2014 it produced a steel of 98.1 million tons with the revenue generation of $79 billion.Mittal steel empire spread over 22 countries. He is one of the world's most respected business leaders.

He saved 10000 jobs in Temirtau plant in Kazakhstan where laborers were paid every 15 days. In Trinidad and Tobago he signed a lease agreement with the government for $ 11 million per year and he had the option to purchase after 5 years .The staunch sourcing decisions were on cost effectiveness of the raw material suppliers.

To recapitulate his overall strategy that led him to be extremely successful making him the leading steel producer in the world were -- acquiring the loss making firms and turning them around , consolidate the steel industry ,use of the new technology (DRI) , negotiation for the prices with loss making companies, differentiated HR strategy with ( Geo Centric and region centric ). He brought steel plants that had proximity markets that needed steel for example Trinidad and Tobago were close to US and Europe and Kazakhstan was close to china.

He was also involved into transnational strategy, local responsiveness and economies of scale .Starting from Indonesia he expanded his empire to Trinidad and Tobago, Middle Asia, Algeria ,Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, China, India and France turning around business, driving profound change and hence becoming a global market leader.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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leadership ceo jack welch steve jobs alan mulally

Divakar Prakash

The author is a Strategy Consultant with experience of consulting CEO level executives and key stakeholders in Real Estate , Government, Not for Profit, FMCG and Chemical sectors. Educated at the School of Management ,University of St-Andrews consistently a top ranked institution in Europe at Master's level in business Strategy, Corporate Finance and General Management

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