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Looking For Growth In All The Right Places


What are the sources of corporate growth? If you take a middle-of-the- road view of markets, as many executives do, the answers may surprise you: averaging out the different growth rates in an industry’s segments and sub-segments can produce a misleading view of its growth prospects.Most so-called growth industries include sub-industries or segments that are not growing at all, while ...

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Business and Social Contribution

In 1970, Milton Friedman argued strenuously that the social responsibility of business is, above all, to increase profits. In an article for The New York Times Magazine, he pointed out that without profit there are no wages paid and no enterprise with a surplus to offer anyone. Today, many business leaders and activists alike would counter that companies have a ...

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Routers in the Sky

Born in Kashmir, raised in Bombay (now Mumbai), Pradman Kaul came to the U.S. at the age of 17 in 1963 to study engineering at George Washington University and never looked back. He joined Comsat Laboratories, where he teamed up with the nucleus of engineers who would form Digital Communications Corporation-the company GM would buy in 1986 after it had ...

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Are Your Employees Truly Engaged?

Few industries are more cutthroat than retailing. Competitors are subject to rapidly changing trends, and the whims of a fickle public can make a store that’s hot one year pass’ the next. Witness the recent demise of CompUSA, only a few years ago a $4 billion computer retailer, as an example of just how quickly things can turn south.Winning the ...

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Succession Without Tears


CEO succession practices have witnessed a sea change over the past decade. In the not-so-recent past, anointing a successor- regardless of what official corporate policy might state-was often the purview of the sitting CEO. He or she assessed the field, handpicked one or more promising contenders, and winnowed them over time, eventually championing a nominee to the board, which then ...

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DECISION TIME for Immelt and Buffett


Going Big” has been a popular theme of corporations worldwide.The underlying premise is that size and diversity is a way to hedge your bets and assure that you have the ability to avoid unpredictable downturns. Two great companies, General Electric and Berkshire Hathaway, have successfully adopted this theme.In 2006, GE generated $163 billion in revenues, 12.65 percent net profit margin, ...

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How Investment Bankers Think

Just to survive, investment bankers must be both smart and savvy, and to prosper they must be extraordinarily smart and savvy.  Business executives can learn key principles of business and finance by examining how the best investment bankers think-a sophisticated system of reasoning and procedure that generates consistent, high-quality financial output. In addition, we explore the personality of investment bankers-what ...

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Investment Banking

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, an international investment banker and corporate strategist, is senior adviser at Citigroup where he focuses on China. He is editor in chief of a new book, China’s Banking and Financial Markets: The Internal Report of the Chinese Government. His articles describing and explaining investment banking, which advise business executives on how to optimize investment banking products and ...

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Fit To Be CEO


I was in Hawaii giving a speech for the leadership of Washington Mutual Bank. As is usual in my case, after the speech I went to the fitness center for my daily aerobic exercise. To my surprise, working out next to me on a treadmill was Kerry Killinger, CEO of Washington Mutual. I asked him if he maintained a fitness ...

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Protecting Your Assets

In “Divorce in the Workplace” (June 2006), we described Jack Welch’s woes and Gary Wendt’s folly in their divorce situations, coterminous affairs and financial settlements. We strongly recommended a prenuptial agreement in order to protect the depletion of the executives’ assets. Many executives marry long before they accumulate wealth and do not have such an agreement. Obtaining a postnuptial agreement ...

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