By: Mick Yates
Anne Mulcahy was born in October 1952 in New York and grew up in a Long Island household with four brothers. Joining Xerox in 1976 as a Sales Representative, Anne held several sales and senior management positions prior to her promotion to Chairman and Chief Executive. While this promotion was quite obviously a feather in her cap, it was accepted with mixed emotions, coming at a time when revenue and profits were declining, customers were irate, employees were disillusioned and shareholders were watching the value of their stock slide.
Despite this, over just a few years, Anne has managed to turn the fate of Xerox around making it again one of the industry's major competitors. Quite some achievement, but just how did Anne make this transition?
A three pronged plan was put in place, focusing on cash generation, the reduction of cost base and strengthening of the core business. This meant however that Anne was forced to kill an entire line she championed, a difficult but necessary decision. With both her strategy and implementation plans in place, Anne then focused on her people, needing the support and commitment of the team in order to succeed. Aware that she was dealing with a disillusioned workforce, Anne's direct and honest approach stood her in good stead, instilling loyalty and enthusiasm.
Anne has been described as a tough, strategic and decisive leader. She has succeeded in providing an optimistic future for Xerox, but her story is far from over. It will be interesting to see what fate holds in store for Anne and how she will tackle it.
By Melanie Smith