Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneur’
Making a Big Switch? Leap Carefully
Wall Street Journal
Business strategist Thomas Newman left Time Warner Inc. TWX +0.74% in 2007 to launch the digital arm of Radio One Inc., ROIAK +9.59% a black-owned media company. But the white executive lacked experience dealing with operations or serving African-American consumers.
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” Mr. Newman recalls warning Alfred Liggins, Radio One’s chief executive. His future boss replied, “You’ll pick things up.”
Mr. Liggins was right. The Interactive One division run by Mr. Newman saw revenue climb 13% to $19.8 million in 2012. He expects the unit will break even this year – three years later than he projected—and make money next year.
It’s risky for newly hired executives to make multiple changes at once, switching both industry and job level, for example. Lacking inside allies, they must simultaneously lead well and learn quickly. And it doesn’t always work out: Ron Johnson, who jumped from Apple Inc. AAPL +2.08% to the top job at J.C. Penney Co., JCP +1.83% got forced out April 8 after 17 months as CEO.
Mr. Newman and two other such “extreme” switchers figured out how to pull off this tricky transition.
Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, an Olympic gold medalist, left a public-relations post at the U.S. Olympic Committee to head a struggling cable-television trade group for women. Maryam Banikarim, an NBCUniversal senior vice president and former entrepreneur, became the first chief marketing officer of Gannett Co. at a time when the USA Today publisher’s revenues were sinking, mainly due to declining advertising.