Almost everyone in a management, or even a public sector position, knows that a company is only as good as the person that heads it. Below are six prime examples of turnaround companies that were headed on the way to disaster. Yet, with the right person at the helm, made impressive comebacks while navigating through stormy conditions of epic proportions.
Chrysler Motor Company from 1979 to 1992; CEO: Lee Iacocca
Having been fired from Ford Motor Company, Lee Iacocca was hired to try to rescue Chrysler Motor Company, a business that at the time was in a severe financial free fall. Taking up a mantra now familiar to millions, "If you can find a better car–buy it," Iacocca virtually saved Chrysler from complete bankruptcy. Within three years, Chrysler paid back its bailout loan and went on to become profitable in 1982.
Apple Computers from 1985 to 2011; CEO: Steve Jobs
Having been a co-founder of Apple in 1985, he left the company after a falling out with the board of directors. Returning in 1996 as an interim CEO, Jobs found the company floundering with plummeting stock prices.
A man of vision, the iMac, the iPod, iTunes, and the iPhone all followed in production on his return to the company. More importantly, he gave others in the company, and the industry as well, a vision to "think differently". Toward the end of his tenure, the stocks of Apple computer were valued at over 9,000 percent of their original value.
Sprint from 2007 to the present; CEO: Dan Hesse
Although Sprint reported losses of $29.6 billion in 2007, Dan Hesse took over as CEO and immediately implemented a new "Simply Everything" rate plan in 2008.
Within the next three years, Sprint was able to report a positive subscriber growth and by 2012, Sprint reported a $3 billion increase in revenues over the previous year.
Yahoo! from 2001 to 2007; CEO: Terry Semel
Terry Semel came to Yahoo at the time of the dot-com bust. With plunging sales and an even lower company morale, Semel went to work. Within one year as CEO, Yahoo had over $43 million in revenue as opposed to the previous year’s $93 million loss.
Harley Davidson from 1989 to 1997; CEO: Richard Teerlink
Facing stiff competition from Japanese motorcycle manufacturers such as Yamaha and Honda, Teerlink recalibrated Harley Davidson to increase quality and manufacturing world-class heavyweight motorcycles. Today, Harley has a 50 percent market share and annual sales of more than $1.7 billion.
Campbell’s Soup Company from 2001 to 2011; CEO: Doug Conant
Having lost its dominating market share, Campbell took on Doug Conant as CEO. He immediately went about replacing 300 company leaders as he implemented a 10-year turnaround plan. On his leaving the firm, Campbell’s stock was outperforming the S & P’s Index. Mission accomplished.
Clearly, it’s not the company, its name, or its public image that can turn it around from a looming disaster. Rather, it all depends on who is at the helm of the ship. Having someone who is versed in the public’s perception of the company can make or break your company, and some people consider getting an online public administration degree to better understand their position and help repair relations to give a leg up in the turnaround.