This article is contributed by Kevin Wright.
There’s always one man who comes along and changes the game. He’s the wildcard that turns fortunes around and makes history. Under his leadership even the sinking Titanic can be saved. We’re talking about people who came, who saw and who conquered. They were instrumental in saving major corporations from financial ruin. If it weren’t for them some of the biggest names in the world of business would have collapsed and turned to dust. When companies that had held a dominant position for years cried out for help, these men answered. Let’s take a look at some of them and how their endeavors saved the companies in question.
If Henry Ford made automobiles affordable, then Lee Iacocca maintained its affordability by saving one of the “big three” automobile manufacturers of America. He began his career at the Ford Motor Company in the engineering department, but later found his true calling in sales and marketing. He climbed the corporate ladder like an angry gorilla looking for revenge and soon became the President of the company. His ideas were perhaps too revolutionary for his boss, because he was canned by Henry Ford II, despite having made the company $2 billion in profits. The work that he did after leaving Ford is what he’s remembered for today. He entered the Chrysler Corporation amidst a financial crisis. With backing from Congress and ideas that had been rejected by Ford, Lee was able to turn things around for Chrysler. Unfortunately, after his retirement the company saw tough times again and was ultimately taken over by Fiat. If you can find a better employee than Iacocca, hire him.
Nokia was the name on everyone’s lips when people talked about cellphones. However, the bigger you are the harder you fall, and Nokia fell hard. Their reliance on the Symbian operating system caused them to lose the smartphone race to Apple and Google. It wasn’t cool to be a Nokia user anymore. It wasn’t until Stephen Elop left Microsoft to assume the position of CEO at Nokia that things started turning around. He was the first non-Finnish director the company ever had, so he was already making history with his appointment. Elop wrote a memo titled “Burning Platform” to address Nokia’s current situation in the smartphone market. Despite much controversy he scrapped the Symbian operating system and adapted the Windows platform for Nokia’s new devices. Finally, on September 3 2013 Microsoft agreed to buy the failing company for $7.2 billion. Elop ended up going full circle only to return to Microsoft.
Michael Eisner wasn’t the best of CEOs. When your Board of Directors start a campaign to get you booted from the job, it’s wise to get the hell out of Dodge, and that’s just what he did. Bog Iger stepped in to fill the shoes after Eisner’s departure from Disney, and those shoes fit him quite nicely. So much so that he went running with them. The first thing Iger did was correct Eisner’s mistakes. The successful partnership Disney and Pixar had shared went sour because of you know who. Iger talked things over with Steve Jobs and got him a seat at Disney’s Board of Directors in return for Pixar Studios
. Pretty good for his first year on the job, wouldn’t you say? But wait, there’s more. He went shopping yet again and bought Marvel and Lucasfilm as well. Who’d have thought Iron Man and Darth Vader would share the same roof as Mickey Mouse? I wonder which recruitment agency hired Bob Iger for Disney.
We can’t finish an article about business without talking about the big man himself. This visionary was rooted out of his own company after a power struggle. His response, start another one to stick it to his former brothers in arms. And stick it to them he did. After his adversaries realized they couldn’t run the company without him, they sought him back. “Back in black” is the phrase I would use to summarize his return to Apple
. The work that he did after assuming control of his company is the stuff of legends. He didn’t just save his company, he changed the way people used technology.
If you want to defy the odds and rewrite destiny as you see fit, these are the people you should be taking notes from. It’s as they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.
Kevin Wright works with, IN-Fusion Management
, leading providers of recruitment solutions in Melbourne. He enjoys interacting with people and loves providing solutions to the issues they face.