In 1990, IBM had its most profitable year ever. By 1993, the company was on a watch list for extinction -- victimized by its own lumbering size, an insular corporate culture, and the PC era IBM had itself helped invent.
Enter Lou Gerstner. The presumption was that Gerstner had joined IBM to preside over its continued dissolution into a confederation of autonomous business units -- effectively eliminating the corporation that had invented many of the industry's most important technologies. Instead, Gerstner took hold of the company, making the bold decision to keep it together, defiantly announcing, "The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision."
Told in Lou Gerstner's own words, this is a story of an extraordinary turn-around, a case study in managing a crisis, and a thoughtful reflection on the computer industry and the principles of leadership. Summing up his historic business achievement, Gerstner recounts high-level meetings, explains the no-turning-back decisions that had to be made, and offers his hard-won conclusions about the essence of what makes a great company run.
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Writing in an exciting, fast-paced narrative style, Gerstner takes readers through his experiences at IBM -- from the high-powered recruiting pressure to take the Chairman's position, to first days on the job learning the strengths and weaknesses of IBM, to formulating and successfully implementing a turnaround strategy.
Filled with Gerstner's personal insights as he explores the company, institutes changes, and rebuilds IBM for the 21st century, readers will have unprecedented access to the mind of the CEO. Refreshing and candid throughout, Gerstner pulls no punches as shows readers what he did and why he did it.About the Author:
Lou Gerstner, Jr., served as chairman and chief executive officer of IBM from April 1993 until March 2002, when he retired as CEO. He remained chairman of the board through the end of 2002. Before joining IBM, Mr. Gerstner served for four years as chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco, Inc. This was preceded by an eleven-year career at the American Express Company, where he was president of the parent company and chairman and CEO of its largest subsidiary. Prior to that, Mr. Gerstner was a director of the management consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., Inc. He received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
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