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Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround: How I Turned Around IBM Paperback – 4 Aug 2003
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This is CEO Louis V. Gerstner Jr's memoir about the turnaround of IBM and his transformation of the company into the industry leader of the computer age. When Gerstner became CEO of IBM in 1993, shares were in freefall and the company was on the verge of collapse. Hired for his successful management of RJR Nabisco and American Express, Gerstner had no background in technology, but during his seven-year chairmanship, he transformed the company into the leading force of the computer age. In his frank, direct voice, Gerstner recalls the obstacles he faced: the plans to fragment the company; the inconsistent global policies; the stodgy white-shirt hierarchy and inter-departmental competitiveness; and the rapidly declining sales. Within months of joining IBM, Gerstner presented his bold and controversial business strategy.Punitive towards office politics, he revolutionized the company from within, altering an entire corporate culture, divesting billions of dollars in unneeded assets and transforming IBM from a fractured, process-driven business into a nimble, customer-driven enterprise able to respond quickly to the volatile technology market and face down Microsoft and Intel in the internet era. Revealing his tactics step by step, Gerstner spins a narrative that takes the reader behind the curtain into the unbelievable mess he inherited and into the office and mind of a CEO facing a challenge of a lifetime.
About the Author
Louis V. Gerstner Jr., formerly head of RJR Nabisco and American Express, is the CEOof IBM.
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It was easy to read even for someone like me who does not speak "the management lingo", and I got a good idea of what he was up against and how he dealt with the challenges. Full marks to Lou Gerstner for achieving what he did. It wasn't pleasant for us on the shop floor, and in some ways it changed IBM irrevocably, but without his work IBM would not have been able to celebrate its first 100 years as a company in 2011.
I'm glad I waited because everything Lou Gerstner describes here is even more relevant today.
I recommend this to every aspiring leader. Constant renewal and customer-adaptive capabilities will be the hallmark of 21st century success. Principles and values will provide the compass
The generic principles and insights cited were useful for any Global 500 company however. A good, light read.
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