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The Best & Worst Managers in 2004

 

Best Managers

Jeffrey Immelt

General Electric

>> Repositioned GE's portfolio with major acquisitions in health care, entertainment, and commercial finance.

>> Created a more diverse, global, and customer-driven culture

 

 Best Managers

Steven Reinemund

PepsiCo

>> Developed a strong and diverse leadership bench that has helped PepsiCo tap new markets.

>> Attained consistent double-digit earnings growth through product innovation and smart marketing.

            Best Managers

          Hector Ruiz

          Advanced Micro Devices

          >> Demonstrated the first mainstream dual-core chip, offering superefficient processing with low power consumption and heat dissipation.

          >> Launched an initiative to sell low-cost PCs in developing countries in a bid to bridge the widening digital divide.

            Best Managers

          Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen

          DreamWorks SKG

          >> In the spring, the computer-animated Shrek 2 set a record with a gross of $436.7 million.

          >> Had one of the year's hottest IPO's, pulling in $812 million. Stock zoomed by 45% the following month.

 

          Best Managers

          Robert Nardelli

          Home Depot

          >> Turned a $46 billion business dominated by big-box stores into a $70 billion chain with urban, suburban, and international outlets.

          >> A ruthless drive for efficiency, such as centralizing purchasing and investing in technology, pushed margins above 30%.

            Best Managers

          Jack Rowe

          Aetna

          >> Increased membership profitably with innovative service offerings and smart financial management.

          >> Contained medical-cost increases through disease-management programs and other initiatives

 

          Best Managers

          Joseph Tucci

          EMC

          >> Revived growth by pushing sales of new, easier-to-use, less expensive storage gear.

          >> Made $3.6 billion worth of software deals, boosting margins and broadening EMC's appeal to customers.

            Best Managers

          Gary Forsee

          Sprint

          >> Combined Sprint's wireless tracking stock with that of the parent company, paving the way for Sprint's merger with Nextel.

          >> Unconventional partnerships with cable operators and rival telcos added millions of consumers to Sprint's network.

 

          Best Managers

          John Henry

          Boston Red Sox

          >> Broke the most fabled curse in sports, when his Boston Red Sox won their first World Championship since 1918.

          >> Sold out all 81 home games for the first time in team history.

            Best Managers

          Henning Kagermann

          SAP

          >> Kept a tight lid on costs, which helped boost profits 20%, to $1.7 billion.

          >> Tied SAP'S software to other companies' products, helping to win over a slew of new customers.

 

          Best Managers

          Anne Mulcahy

          Xerox

          >> Pushed for faster decision making and instituted lean Six Sigma to improve efficiency.

          >> Cut debt and boosted cash flow, to an estimated $1.5 billion in 2005, while maintaining research and development spending.

            Best Managers

          Edward Breen

          Tyco

          >> Brought Tyco back aftim executive scandals and a liquidity crunch nearly killed it.

          >> Tripled net earnings and regained an investment-grade rating on TycoÕs bonds.

 

          Best Managers

          Linus Torvalds

          Open Source Development Labs

          >> Created the core piece of the Linux operating system, which launched a software revolution.

          >> Turned Linux into the No. 2 server operating system in the world, after Windows.

            Best Managers

          Phil Knight

          Nike

          >> Transformed a volatile, fad-driven marketing and design icon into a more shareholder-friendly company.

          >> Hired outsider William Perez, ceo of household products company S.C. Johnson, to succeed him as ceo.

 

          Best Managers

          Chung Mong Koo

          Hyundai

          >> Turned the company from the butt of talk-show jokes into a leader in customer-satisfaction surveys.

          >> Boosted Hyundai's presence in the U.S., Europe, China, and India, resulting in record sales and profits.

            Best Managers

          Steven Murphy

          Rodale

          >> Increased the volume of magazine ad pages by an estimated 10% in 2004, vs. about 3% for the industry.

          >> Helped build the South Beach Diet into a $280 million franchise, with three book titles and a Web site with 350,000-plus subscribers.

          Best Managers

          Jerry Perenchio

          Univision

          >> Increased Univision's 18-to-49-year-old audience by 8%. Now draws more Hispanics in that group than ABC, NBC, Fox, and NBC-owned Telemundo combined.

          >> Integrated Hispanic Radio, acquired in 2003, and boosted net income by 95%, to $188.7 million, through September.

 

          Worst Managers

          Raymond Gilmartin
Merck

No doubt Merck & Co. (MRK ) Chairman and CEO Raymond V. Gilmartin would prefer to forget 2004, when the drugmaker had to withdraw Vioxx -- its painkiller that was hauling in $2.5 billion in annual sales. But while last year was tough, Merck will be paying the price for the Vioxx disaster for years to come.

 

          Worst Managers

          Philip Watts
Royal Dutch/Shell

          Watts seems to have brought about his own downfall. Much of the overbooking of those proven oil reserves occurred from 1997 to mid-2001, when he was exploration and production chief. A Mar. 31 study by New York law firm Davis, Polk & Wardwell revealed that almost from the time Walter van der Vijver succeeded Watts in that role, he had complained to his boss about "aggressive" or "premature" bookings during Watts's tenure. Watts didn't call for the investigation that uncovered the problem until late 2003. The news triggered investigations by the Securities & Exchange Commission and other regulators. Shell says that it has an agreement in principle with the SEC to pay $120 million and to spend $5 million on compliance. Watts has denied any wrongdoing.

          Craig Conway
PeopleSoft

          Don't weep for Conway, though. He received an exit package worth an estimated $3.2 million. With Conway out of the way, Oracle and PeopleSoft finally agreed on a $10 billion deal in the early hours of Dec. 13. It's expected to close as early as January.

          Sanjay Kumar
Computer Associates International

Sanjay Kumar was once the protégé and right-hand man of Computer Associates International Inc. (CA ) founder Charles B. Wang. The Sri Lankan native took over as CEO in 2000, promising to improve accounting and customer relations. But while customer ties got better, the accounting came under fire. A Justice Dept. probe of CA's accounting begun nearly three years ago culminated last September with Kumar, 42, being indicted for securities fraud and obstruction of justice.
He denies the charges.

 

          Jeffrey Greenberg
Marsh & McLennan

Jeffrey W. Greenberg spent five years at the helm of Marsh & McLennan Cos. (MMC ) before New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer went after the $12 billion financial-services firm. In mid-October, Spitzer charged the company's insurance-brokerage unit with bid-rigging and accepting kickbacks, among other allegations.
Greenberg stepped down on Oct. 25.

          Raymond Gilmartin
Merck

No doubt Merck & Co. (MRK ) Chairman and CEO Raymond V. Gilmartin would prefer to forget 2004, when the drugmaker had to withdraw Vioxx -- its painkiller that was hauling in $2.5 billion in annual sales. But while last year was tough, Merck will be paying the price for the Vioxx disaster for years to come.

 

          Michael Eisner
Walt Disney

It hasn't been a supercalifragilistic year for Michael D. Eisner. The 62-year-old Walt Disney Co. (DIS ) CEO weathered a hostile takeover attempt in February, and a month later he was stripped of his chairmanship following a 45% no-confidence vote by shareholders. The year ended with a public airing of management missteps in the 1996 firing of President Michael Ovitz. And before Eisner left for the holidays, Disney settled SEC charges that it failed to disclose transactions between the company and its board members from 1999 through 2001.
Disney admitted no wrongdoing

          Scott Livengood
Krispy Kreme

Scott A. Livengood loves to wax about the "brand mythology" that has built up around Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. (KKD ), which enjoys a cult-like following. But investors, once enthralled with KK's soaring profits and giddy over its stock price, today see it as a kind of corporate Icarus, crashing to earth. After a heady rise following its 2000 initial public offering, Krispy Kreme's shares have plunged by roughly 80% from their peak. And the Securities & Exchange Commission has launched an inquiry into whether the North Carolina-based chain used improper accounting to prop up its earnings, which are now on the decline.
The company says it's cooperating with the SEC.

          Howard Pien
Chiron

The defining image of Howard H. Pien's horrible year is no doubt the crowds of elderly Americans camped out for hours at clinics, trying desperately to get their annual flu shots. Many of them were never vaccinated, because Chiron Corp. (CHR ) -- one of only two major flu vaccine providers -- was prohibited from releasing doses produced at the Liverpool (England) plant that makes the treatment. British regulators suspended the plant's license in October, citing contamination problems, and Pien had to apologize for failing to provide any vaccine to U.S. patients.

          Industry Outlook 2005 Energy

          ENERGY

          > > Oil and gas prices should soften, but China's needs remain a wild card

         
> > Producers are adding capacity- and expanding their comfort zone

 

          Industry Outlook 2005 Manufacturing

          BASIC INDUSTRY

          > > Commodities suppliers are profiting from rising prices and strong globaldemand

          > > Heavy-equipment makers, though braked by the cost of metal, are cashing in as well

          Industry Outlook 2005 Manufacturing

          AEROSPACE

          Preparing For A Descent

          > > The industry expects a gradual downturn in defense procurement...

         
> > ...Cushioned (if fuel prices don't skyrocket) by a climb in commercial airline orders.

 

          Industry Outlook 2005 Manufacturing

          CONSTRUCTION

          Still Building

          > > With interest rates rising, residential construction will be off its torrid pace of 2004

         
> > Commercial developers will pick up the slack with new office and retail projects

          Industry Outlook 2005 Transport

          TRANSPORT

          Putting the Pedal to the Metal

          > > Demand for shipping by air and truck is strong, and prices are rising

         
> > Companies are struggling with a shortage of railcars and truck drivers

          Industry Outlook 2005 Manufacturing

          AUTOS/COMMENTARY

          Borrowing from the Future

          > > After years of lavish sales incentives, demand for cars is flat. With higher interest rates ahead, Detroit's best bet is to offer better cars

 

          Industry Outlook 2005 Information Technology

          TELECOM

          The Merger Is the Message

          > > Net technology is replacing old methods, ushering in an era of souped-up services

         
> > Distinctions within the industry are blurring as outsiders make inroads.

 

          Industry Outlook 2005 Information Technology

          SOFTWARE

          Expect the Giants To Stay Sluggish

          > > Purchasing decisions are being delayed because of Sarbanes-Oxley and Microsoft

         
> > Open source is going after niche business and putting pricing pressure on the titans

          Industry Outlook 2005 Information Technology

          HARDWARE

          Tightwad IT Buyers Loosen Up

          > > Healthy demand will keep sales of new computers climbing

         
> > But remembering the slump, companies will favor smaller, cheaper systems.

          Industry Outlook 2005 Information Technology

          CHIPS/COMMENTARY

          The New Driver In Chipland

          > > Now consumers are driving the industry's growth as semiconductor smarts become a must in everyday devices and newfangled gizmos

          Industry Outlook 2005 Life Sciences

          DRUGS

          More Bitter Pills For Big Pharma

          > > Patents are expiring on blockbuster drugs, and there's not much in the pipelines

         
> > Executives fear that Washington will get tough in the wake of the Vioxx debacle

 

          Industry Outlook 2005 Health

          HEALTHCARE/COMMENTARY

          More Money, Less Care

          > > Even higher outlays aren't getting the U.S. a better health-care system, but the pols aren't doing much to redress this miserable equation

 

          Industry Outlook 2005 Services

          RETAIL

          There Goes The Gravy Train

          > > Rising interest rates and inflation will probably leave consumers with less to spend

         
> > Deep discounters such as Wal-Mart will keep the price pressure on rivals

          Industry Outlook 2005 Services

          TRAVEL

          Gray Skies Ahead -- But More Will Fly

          > > Steep oil prices and overcapacity will keep bogging down airlines

         
> > Travel is on the rise, perking up profits of hotels and car-rental companies

 

          Industry Outlook 2005 Finance

          BANKING

          Bracing For The Squeeze

          > > Earnings growth from financial services is set to slow as interest rates escalate

         
> > With companies lean from cost-cutting, mergers could provide the next profit surge.

 

 

          Industry Outlook 2005 Finance

          INSURANCE

          Now Come the Real Storms

          > > The specter of price wars and increased regulation could send industry executives running for cover

 

 

 

 

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