Consulting and Executive Briefings

Engagements include work with CEOs and corporate leaders across a range of organizations – Fortune 500 firms to start-ups. Executive briefings are either one event meetings or lengthier arrangements lasting a year or more.

NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) and NASDAQ clients at the CEO, president or division head level, have included:  Visa International (prior to IPO), Charles Schwab, Spieker Properties, Cadence Design Systems, Hewlett – Packard, Robert Half, First Nationwide Bank, Pyramid Technology, Mrs. Fields Cookies and International Business Machines, among others.

Representative Consulting Engagement
Client:
Visa International, Visa CEMEA
Service:
Speaker, advisor
Domain:
Innovation
Primary Contact:
CEO (Visa International); President and Executive Vice President, Marketing (Visa CEMEA); Board of Directors; regional managers

This assignment comprised a series of speaking engagements, including keynote roles in speaking tours with two different Visa CEOs and advisory follow-up over a five year period in the U.S., the Middle East, Europe and Africa. It required building the case for innovation leadership, especially in regard to internet commerce, with domestic and international bank CEOs.  More detailed consulting work followed with individual bank members.

Client:
Charles Schwab & Company  (NYSE)
Service: Management development seminars and survey
Domain:
Innovation
Primary Contact:
Co-CEO, Director of Human Resources, Director of Marketing

A corporate wide assessment (opinion survey) appraised the climate for innovation and associated leadership styles. The survey was conducted as part of a year long management development program for the company’s top 100 marketing managers. Differences and challenges across business units were analyzed for management action.

Client:
Spieker Properties (NYSE)
Service:
Management consultant; project manager; Co-CEO of IT and client services initiative
Domain:
Dashboard and performance measurement, IT systems, innovation and brand strategy, client services; executive development
Primary Contact:
Board of Directors, C-suite, regional executives

Spieker Properties rolled up dozens of investment partnerships, went public for about $300 million and then grew rapidly to a market capitalization of $2 billion five years later, making it roughly the 10th largest of some 200 publicly listed real estate investment trusts (REITs). Along the way, they needed to build out the necessary management infrastructure, expand an already highly regarded leadership training program and innovate with new services.

Consulting activities included hiring a new CIO and working to develop a dashboard for corporate performance measures; instituting a succession plan for senior executive positions, including the CEO position; executive coaching; and developing and evaluating new products and services, including distance learning tools for clients. This was an intensive engagement that necessitated a leave of absence from the university. An initial three month engagement continued for several years until a “legendary” buyout/exit opportunity for shareholders presented itself. By that time, the company had solidified its reputation as among the best managed in the industry.

Client:
Resources Group
Service: Partnership and investment assessments
Domain:
Financial performance, innovation and brand strategy, client services, executive development
Primary Contact:
Board of Directors, C-suite, regional executives

Resources Group’s clients, associates and partners searched for offshore business situations where fast injections of U.S. liquidity and technology based expertise would allow recipients to leapfrog over competitors. The engagement, intermittent over a ten year period, required an assessment of the business model, management talent and competitive position of small to medium sized firms in a range of industries, including retailing and information technology.

Client:
Cadence Design   (NYSE)
Service:
Project manager, speaker, advisor
Domain:
Innovation, public policy, partner strategy
Primary Contact:
CEO, C-suite, country executives, marketing managers

The CEO, as well as board members and senior executives, saw how competitive position could be improved along several fronts – a strengthening of public policy regarding intellectual property, mix and match product offerings and closer cooperation in the innovation arena with key customers.  These issues were tackled using keynote presentations at corporate events, a research project in partnership with other firms sensitive to intellectual property issues, presentations with key customers in Asia and Europe and at external industry gatherings, coaching opportunities with regional executives, and periodic public relations events with the firm’s leadership.  The firm continues to be a leader in its sector.

Client:
Robert Half International (NYSE)
Service:
Strategy consultant
Domain:
Brand
Primary Contact:
CEO, C suite, marketing managers

RHI, a $5 billion publicly traded business services firm, faced a marketing and brand challenge. Advertising costs had risen dramatically and the question was whether investments in a master brand would be more effective than continued investment in a growing number of sub-brands. Counter to the prevailing industry practice, a strategy for continuing with the sub-brands was adopted after a lengthy evaluation. This same strategy, developed in partnership with key staff and product managers, helped propel growth over the next five years.

Client:
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
Service:
Opinion survey
Domain:
Positioning, public policy
Primary Contact:
Senior staff

A survey conducted on behalf of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce showed that small business owners viewed the Chamber as a representative of large companies.  The consequences of this attitude – at odds with the Chambers’ goals to represent the entire business community – were explained in an article published in its monthly magazine. The article created more requests for information and discussion from other chambers (mostly with an interest in replicating the study) around the country than any other article published by the SFCC until that time.

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