There are many companies that were on the edge of a catastrophe, yet some of them were resurrected by their leaders and are now among the most influential corporations around the world.
From Apple’s Steve Jobs’ demanding personality to Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter’s frugal methods, these sometimes-controversial CEOs weren’t always popular with employees, but they earned the respect of shareholders.
Let’s take a closer look at the 10 role model leaders who made the impossible and turned around their companies to become even stronger than they used to be.
1 Steve Jobs (Apple CEO – forever) – Without a doubt Steve Jobs is one of the most interesting leaders in our world. I have read his personal approved autobioraphy and gotta tell you – this book have led me through many struggles in my life.
He basically was voted fired in 1985, mainly because his different understandings and lack of communication with Apple’s board of directors. This was of course the biggest mistake Apple could have done. The company then started sinking to the point the situation was unsolvable.
He returned in 1996 to serve as interim CEO when the company was floundering and stock prices had plummeted. He became permanent CEO in 1997.
Jobs reduced the 350 projects Apple had in development to 50 and then to 10. Focused on creating the next big thing, he released the iMac, the iPod, iTunes and the iPhone. He also restored Apple’s hip image. Perhaps the best turnaround story of all time, under Jobs’ lead, Apple stock rose more than 9,000 percent. In poor health, Jobs resigned in August 2011, and died two months later from pancreatic cancer.
If you wish to read an extraordinary book, then Steve Jobs’ autobiography is exactly for you.
2 Lee Iacocca (Chrysler CEO from 1979-1992) – “If you can find a better car … buy it.” That was president and CEO Lee Iacocca’s battle cry as he saved Chrysler from the verge of bankruptcy in the early 1980s.
After being fired from Ford, Iacocca was seen as the rescuer from Crysler and they were right. The first change he made after becoming the CEO was to find capital, as the company needed it badly. He made a plea to Congress in 1979 that resulted in federally guaranteed loans of $1.5 billion for Chrysler.
In a few years Crysler turned into a profitable company again and paid back its loans… all that would have been impossible though if it wasn’t for Iacocca restructuring management, laying off workers and negotiating concessions from suppliers, creditors and unions. He introduced the K-car and minivan.
Iacocca retired from Chrysler in 1992. The company merged with German-based DaimlerBenz in 1998. It was sold to Cerberus Capital in 2007. In 2009, Chrysler declared bankruptcy. It was purchased from the U.S. government in 2011 by Italian carmaker Fiat.
3 Ed Whitacre (GM CEO from 2009-2010) – he retired from AT&T in 2007, but he was the savior GM needed, so they hired him to make the proper company changes and turn things around for the company that was really going down.
He streamlined the company’s holdings, selling Saab and cancelling projects such as another model of the Chevrolet Volt that was planned to compete with the Toyota Prius, and earned the nickname of “GM’s Reaper.” Sixteen months later, GM launched the biggest IPO in history at $23.1 billion. Whitacre said he would leave after “returning GM to greatness.” He stepped down from his post in September 2010.
4 Isaac Perlmutter (Marvel CEO from 2005-present) – this is another amazing leadership story of a bit different kind. Isaac Perlmutter was a member of Marvel’s board of directors, when it went into bankruptcy in 1996. As the owner of Toy Biz, Inc., he helped merge the company with Marvel to bring it out of bankruptcy in 1998. Focused on licensing for media and products, Marvel improved its cash flow and raised its stock price.
Perlmutter became Marvel’s CEO in 2005. He is known for his cost-conscious behaviors, keeping a low headcount, and even digging paper clips out the trash. In 2009, Marvel was purchased by Walt Disney for $6 billion. Perlmutter continues to serve as Marvel’s CEO; the company is currently valued at $4.2 billion.
There is only one entrepreneur in this world that could be possibly recognized for being as tight-fisted as Perlmutter and his name is Donald Trump. Both these amazing Businesspeople show us this is the appropriate leadership behavior, which makes me believe spending money should really be a well though through process.
5 Dan Hesse (Sprint CEO from 2007-present) – When Dan Hesse took over the role of Sprint’s CEO in 2007, the company was in a freefall, reporting losses of $29.6 billion after a merger with Nextel Communications. Hesse implemented Sprint’s new “Simply Everything” rate plan in 2008.
In 2008, Sprint lost 5.1 million subscribers and wireless revenue fell by $3.1 billion, but the company, which had been last in customer satisfaction surveys, was scoring higher on its customer service ratings. In 2009, Sprint acquired Virgin Mobile USA and moved into the prepaid market. By 2010, Sprint had returned to positive subscriber growth for the first time in three years. Hesse continues to serve as CEO. In 2012, Sprint reported revenue of $35.3 billion, an increase over 2011’s revenue of $33.7 billion.
Another story that show us merging companies is not always a proper decisions. If it wasn’t for Hesse’s leadership Sprint wouldn’t have turned into one of the most profitable communication companies in the US.
And once again we see it’s innovation that could build any company to a limitless levels.
These amazing stories show us two key factors when building a company:
1 Building the company is just the first part, remaining at the top is as important.
2 It takes great leadership to build an amazing company along with constantly keeping it profitable, and not only funds and ideas. Many people underestimate leadership, yet here we see this mistake should not be done.