|BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : JANUARY 10, 2000 ISSUE|
Managers to Watch in 2000
The software giant has never been in a tougher spot--and neither has the world's richest man. With the government aiming to break Microsoft's hold on the PC industry and class actions piling on, Gates, 44, must show the negotiating skills--and the humility--to work out a deal.
To sort out the aerospace giant's financial woes, new CFO Hopkins, 44, is closely scrutinizing production methods and costs at every unit of every division. If her re-engineering succeeds, Boeing could keep profits steady as 2000's cyclical downturn in aircraft production hits.
Will things go better for Daft, 56, than they did for M. Douglas Ivester? Coke's respected Asia chief will take over the top job in April--and try to put the fizz back in Coke. Daft, an Australian, will get help from recovering global markets, but an edgy board will keep his honeymoon short.
Fiorina, 45, is on the hot seat. Early moves, such as plans to make HP more customer-focused, won her praise, but now Fiorina faces the tough task of transforming HP's stodgy culture. She'll also have to make good on a promise for double-digit growth while appeasing in-house skeptics.
GE MEDICAL SYSTEMS
Will he get the nod, or won't he? Thanks to the supercharged growth he has overseen as president and CEO of GE's Medical Systems unit, outsiders think Immelt, 43, is the favorite to replace the retiring Jack Welch. If he doesn't, plenty of other companies will woo him.
Ward, 50, has been through the wringer. In September, a month after becoming CEO, a huge earnings shortfall sent Maytag stock down 50%. Ward hit pay dirt as head of its appliance unit selling fancy washers, but now he must prove he can sell the cheaper ones, too.
Since CEO Armstrong, 61, took over in '97, he's led one of the most ambitious turnarounds in history. He's invested a net $54 billion in cable companies and beefed up wireless. 2000 could bring the moment of truth, as investors discover if Armstrong can pull off his grand plans.
Barad, 47, is not making it easy on herself. For over a year, Mattel's feisty CEO has sorely tested investors by making ambitious promises of growth, then failing to deliver. With the stock down nearly 60% since April, the pressure will be on Barad in '00 as never before.
NISSAN MOTOR (NSANY)
The 45-year-old COO may have the toughest job in the auto industry: bringing Japan's No.2 carmaker--expected to lose $5.7 billion this year --back from the brink. He'll shutter five factories in Japan and cut 21,000 global jobs in three years. Will that suffice?
The Web's premier e-tailer has kept sales booming with an aggressive push beyond books. And the stock is up a cool 6000% since its '97 IPO. But as losses mount, the pressure is on CEO Bezos, 35, to give investors a clearer sign of how and when Amazon will turn a profit.
The hard-charging French executive has skillfully honed Vivendi, once an unwieldy conglomerate, to focus on communications and utilities. But Messier, 43, remains far from his goal of making the company a pan-European media and Internet giant. Watch for him to seek an alliance.
Since October, questions about Tyco's accounting have sent the once high-flying stock skidding some 40%. An SEC probe is now underway. Voracious dealmaker Kozlowski, 53, denies anything is amiss. But he'll have to rebuild investor confidence before resuming his go-go ways.
G. Richard Thoman
Thoman has struggled to turn the copier giant into a digital player. A troubled sales-force reshuffle, Y2K worries, problems in Brazil, and stronger rivals all battered earnings. With the stock off two-thirds since May, investors may get tired of waiting for CEO Thoman, 55, to deliver.
FIRST UNION (FTU)
Can Crutchfield, 57, revive First Union's sagging stock, down 48% from its January high? With two of the hungry banker's latest deals--the $16 billion CoreStates Financial takeover and the $2.1 billion buyout of The Money Store--gone sour, he must learn to manage as well as he does deals.
Shaheen, 55, shocked colleagues by chucking a 30-year career at Andersen Consulting last year to head Internet grocer Webvan. But disappointing online grocery sales so far raise doubts about this e-concept. Shaheen will have to show he has what it takes to lead a dot.com upstart.
Since taking over as president in 1998, Akikusa, 61, has struck a slew of deals to position Fujitsu as Japan's biggest Internet service provider. But with e-commerce expected to take off in Japan, Akikusa faces a tough race keeping ahead of rivals NEC, Hitachi, and IBM Japan.
Laybourne, 52, is betting big that the February launch of her women's cable channel and the redesign of Oxygen's Web site will exploit an underserved market for women. She has major-league backers, but the pressure is on the former Nickelodeon exec. Will anyone be watching?
FORD MOTOR (F)
Nasser, 52, had a busy first year as president and CEO. He bought Volvo and other businesses, recruited high-level outsiders, announced a global restructuring, and dove into e-commerce. Now Nasser is looking to make the moves pay off as auto sales ease from 1999's record pace.
A. Barry Rand
AVIS RENT A CAR (AVI)
When he left Xerox last year, Rand vowed to
do bigger things. In November, he landed a job as chairman and CEO of Avis Rent A Car. Now Rand wants to take on leader Hertz by selling new services. Forget the Avis motto to try harder--Rand needs to deliver results.
Despite potent new competition from Yahoo! and Amazon.com, CEO Whitman, 43, has kept the fast-growing online flea market on top. Her biggest challenge: coping with eBay's popularity. If she can't stop the frequent site crashes, Whitman may find eBay's lead going, going, gone.
Can Galvin, 49, complete the turnaround at Motorola? Its 1999 comeback in digital phones impressed Wall Street, pushing shares up some 140%. But Galvin still has work to do. First on the priority list: finding a solution to Iridium, the struggling satellite venture.
CEO since April, Gutierrez, 46, has wasted little time trying to bring some snap, crackle, and pop back to the cereal maker. He has launched ad campaigns and aggressively courted retailers. But until he delivers significant sales growth, the share price will likely remain soggy.
Esser, 52, helped turn the German pipe manufacturer into a hot telecom company whose stock has risen ninefold in five years. Now he must repel a $128 billion hostile takeover bid by Vodafone AirTouch. Win, he's Europe's premier mobile-phone mogul. Lose, he's out of a job.
Can CEO Bonsignore, 58, fill the shoes of his highly regarded predecessor, Larry Bossidy? Now heading the manufacturing giant formed by the merger of Bossidy's AlliedSignal and his Honeywell, Bonsignore must blend divergent cultures while meeting robust earnings expectations.
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