July 26, 2002
Oh, right, well now they’re talking about indicting Worldcom so I guess PR is moot.
To go a little back to Citi and Worldcom - I’m a little surprised, I’d say, by the way the market hammered C’s stock. The company is really original as a model of dviersification (the Russian crisis, Enron, Argentina - little effect on earnings). Also was in Chief Executive Magazine’s list of Top 20 companies for leaders, including (what can I remember?): Microsoft, GE, Pfizer, Home Depot, IBM, got to get the rest of the list.
Microsoft, GE, Pfizer, Home Depot, IBM, Citigroup. All blue chips (implying stability, strength, track record, solid production, etc.) Here the similiarities (FedEx, there’s another one) stop.
Technology / Software, Industrials / Conglomerates, Pharmaceuticals, Retail, Technology / Services, Financials. So great leadership companies (incidentally Walmart was not one) are not confined to one sector (nor should they be). And they have different histories - MSFT is 20 - 25?
Citigroup’s roots go back to the late 19th century, but it has only existing in its current form since 1990 or so - and was formed by M&A strategy, a bit like GE but unlike FedEx or Home Depot (which is headed by one of Immelt’s competitors for GE CEO). GE’s quite old (30s? 40s?), and I seem to remember IBM being in the middle - both are companies that underwent management-driven cultural upheaval (maybe “management-driven” is not the way to think about it.)
But if you are an older company and a top leader you probably must have gone some management/cultural upheaval because over time it seems the entrepreneurial(?) spirit would deteriorate - as it has not in MSFT, FDX(??) HD, C being proof that what I am pointing to as the original engine of leadership cultivation is not necessarily all of an netrpreneurial spirit - just some components of it.
What are the charateristics of “entrepreneurial spirit” that I am most interested in?