During a recent Wharton Leadership Lecture, De Beers managing director Gareth Penny presented the history, strategy and mystique of the international diamond company, and offered his views on what it takes to be a leader in today's global society. In response to questioning from the audience, he also addressed the issue of "conflict diamonds" and noted De Beers' efforts to eliminate the sale of these products as well as to improve the health of communities where diamonds are mined. The Man Who Would Change Microsoft: Ray Ozzie's Vision for Connected Software
Microsoft's Ray Ozzie has a long and storied history of technological innovation, with accomplishments that include creating Lotus Notes and founding Groove Networks. But Ozzie may now be facing the most daunting challenge of his career: coordinating the work of Microsoft's various product groups to keep the world's largest software company agile enough to address the challenge of the next generation of Internet-enabled software. Knowledge@Wharton recently met with Ozzie to talk about his vision for the future of networked computing. Bill George's 'Authentic Leadership': Passion Comes from People's Life Stories
Bill George, probably best known in the business community for his former position as chairman and CEO of Medtronic, is also an author. In 2003 he published a book called, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. This month he published his second book titled, True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, described by George and his co-author Peter Sims as a way to "locate the internal compass that guides you successfully through life." George is also a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School. He and Michael Useem, director of Wharton's Center for Leadership and Change Management, recently talked with Knowledge@Wharton about authentic leadership, both the book and the concept. Hit by an Earthquake: How Scandals Have Led to a Crisis in German Corporate Governance
German corporations have long prided themselves on being above-board, but scandals at some of the country's multinational icons have seriously tarnished that reputation. The scandals allegedly involve hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, the procurement of prostitutes and misbehavior by some of the country's most senior executives, including officials at Siemens, Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank and other firms. The situation is so grave that it may prompt German executives to adopt Anglo-American style corporate-governance principles, according to governance and business ethics experts at Wharton and in Germany. The Halo Effect: Debunking Some Hot Business Books with One of His Own
In The Halo Effect ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers, Phil Rosenzweig tears into some of the most popular business books of recent years, suggesting that a number of the principles bandied about in the business world are based on misguided thinking and flimsy research. These books "contain not one or two, but several delusions," he writes. "For all their claims of scientific rigor, for all their lengthy descriptions of apparently solid and careful research, they operate mainly at the level of storytelling." 'Dude, You Need a CEO': The Return of Michael Dell
It's a common occurrence in Corporate America: An entrepreneurial founder starts a successful business, builds it to a certain size and hands it over to a CEO to run. But then, when things don't go well, the founder steps back in to take direct control of the organization. That, essentially, is what happened last week when Michael Dell returned to become the CEO of Dell, replacing Kevin Rollins. What will it take to turn Dell around? Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli is the director of the school's Center for Human Resources. He spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about these issues. The World Economic Forum: A Call to Exercise Global Leadership, Not Just Self Interest
This year's convening of The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, brought together approximately 2,400 corporate executives, heads of government and leaders of organizations like the World Bank and Human Rights Watch to debate issues ranging from global warming to the rise of the Internet and the future of the Middle East. Michael Useem, director of Wharton's Center for Leadership and Change Management, attended the five-day event. He offers his report on what he calls Davos' "culture of transcendent leadership," which he defines as "a willingness by those with company or country responsibilities to make decisions that benefit those far beyond the decision maker's own organization or nation." How E*Trade's Caplan Brokered a Turnaround for a Once-doomed Company
There's a saying in show business: Never follow an animal act. Yet that was the tough task facing Mitchell Caplan, CEO of E*Trade Financial Corp., when he took the floor to deliver a speech at Wharton -- with the audience still laughing over a clip from a notorious E*Trade ad that aired during the 2000 Super Bowl. Caplan didn't falter, however, and went on to discuss how he had helped rescue a company that, four years ago, seemed on the brink of extinction. Home Unimprovement: Was Nardelli's Tenure at Home Depot a Blueprint for Failure?
After years of a declining stock price, Home Depot announced the resignation of CEO Robert Nardelli on January 3. Wharton faculty members and other experts say Nardelli, a talented former executive at General Electric who came within a hair's breadth of replacing Jack Welch as head of the giant conglomerate, brought the wrong toolbox to the job after he was recruited for Home Depot's top spot in December 2000. With strategic missteps, an outsized compensation contract and a knack for alienating employees and shareholders, Nardelli turned out to be a star-crossed leader. Is There a Business Case for Diversity? Yes -- But It's Not in the Numbers
Try applying traditional metrics like cost and return on investment to find the value of diversity, and you are likely to come up empty handed, according to a panel of African-American executives at Wharton's 33rd Annual Whitney M. Young Memorial Conference. Still, they noted, diversity has a growing importance in the workplace, and minority workers need to focus on their own development in such critical areas as mentoring and balancing corporate identity with activism.
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