Category: Dean Freeman
David Barger, President and CEO, JetBlue
Watch Ken Freeman, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean at Boston University School of Management, as he interviews David Barger, President and CEO of JetBlue. Barger discusses his personal leadership philosophy, the evolving definition of business in society, and JetBlue’s charge to bring humanity back to air travel.
Tells students: “Don’t take the first job that comes along”
Excerpts from BU Today:
David Barger, JetBlue president and CEO, liberally mixed humor and candor throughout an hour-long discussion last week at the School of Management about JetBlue’s success in an airline industry replete with bankruptcy, mergers, and acquisitions.
Barger was greeted by a standing-room-only crowd for the SMG Dean’s Speaker Series, where he and Kenneth Freeman, SMG’s Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, discussed Barger’s career path, his leadership style, and the future of airlines. Students were invited to ask questions during the second half of the session, and two lucky participants earned a pair of free tickets.
In a nod to the packed room, Freeman remarked, “We have full capacity utilization, which is great in the airline industry.”
Barger, who helped found JetBlue 14 years ago, was the latest guest in the speaker series, which has brought to campus industry stars like Adam Bryant, New York Times senior editor for features, Ed Weiss, general counsel of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group, and Dannon CEO Gustavo Valle.
The open secret to JetBlue’s success isn’t strong financials or having the best seats or airfares—although the company has them, Barger said. “At the end of the day, that can all be replicated,” he said. “It does come down to the human equation. It’s our frontline crew members who are making the difference.”
When Freeman opened the discussion to students, some wanted to know about the industry’s future (expect better in-flight entertainment, faster check-in, and satellite-based cockpit navigation), his day-to-day life (“Do you want people to leave the room now?”), and his most beneficial college experience (his political science courses at the University of Michigan).
But on the tip of everyone’s tongue was: what advice does Barger have for job seekers?
“Don’t take the first thing that comes along,” he said. “Look for places that stretch you, if you want to be stretched. Make sure that they stretch you.”
Photos by Kalman Zabarsky via BU Today
Dean joins exclusive group of thought leaders tapped for in-depth online discussions
The Wall Street Journal recently launched an online portal called The Experts, an “exclusive group of industry and thought leaders who will engage in in-depth online discussions” through video chats and short online posts in response to timely questions.
Fellow featured thought leaders include Siemens CEO Eric Spiegel, Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School, and Bernard Yeung, Dean of the National University of Singapore Business School.
Dean Freeman recently responded to the question, “What do you see as the most important thing leaders can do to spur innovation at their institutions?”
Leaders need to make it acceptable for employees to challenge the status quo in their companies. We very often become so committed to sustaining our current book of business that we consider activities that are not directly linked to it to be a distraction. Create skunk works to enable creativity and new ideas. Provide seed funding and protection for those that think unconventionally. Reward failure and learn from it.
Dean Freeman also weighed in on the query, “Do you think companies spend too much money hiring ‘superstar’ CEOS from outside their ranks?”
The issue isn’t about cost, it is about capability. The board’s primary role is selection and evaluation of the CEO. Each company situation and each CEO is different. Providing a one-size-fits-all solution as suggested by the study makes no practical sense. Lack of talent is a common complaint in virtually every company. Every board should ensure that a strong pipeline of internal candidates for CEO succession is in place, and at the same time consider external candidates when it is time to put a new CEO in the role. Select the candidate with the best collection of skills to perform the role, keeping in mind that we know much more about the leadership characteristics of internal candidates than those coming in from the outside, even those that are viewed as “rock stars.” Pay competitively in every instance, keeping a singular focus on the CEO that has the highest probability of successfully creating long-term value. The performance of the leader selected is what will count most–setting the strategy, creating the culture and achieving exceptional results–not whether they came from inside or outside the company.
John Ryan, President of the Center for Creative Leadership
Watch Ken Freeman, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean at Boston University School of Management, as he interviews and explores vital issues in leadership with John Ryan, President of the Center for Creative Leadership, former Chancellor of the State University of New York, former Superintendent (President) of the US Naval Academy, and US Navy Vice Admiral (retired).
Freeman served as CEO of Quest Diagnostics from 1996-2004
Many business leaders are criticized for fixating on short-term goals at the expense of long-term performance. So which global CEOs actually delivered solid results over the long run? The 2013 Harvard Business Review‘s CEO Scorecard provided an objective answer to this question, and named Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Kenneth W. Freeman the 76th best-performing CEO in the world.
Dean Freeman served as Chief Executive Officer of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated from 1996-2004. He also appeared on HBR‘s first CEO Scorecard in 2010, where he was ranked 67th in the world. This year, the pool of CEOs studied increased by roughly one-third, from 1,999 in 2010 to 3,143 this year, due to the inclusion of additional emerging-market indexes.
According to Harvard Business Review, the goal of the CEO Scorecard is to shine a spotlight on the CEOs worldwide who created long-term value for their companies, and to give executives critical benchmarks they could aim for. The top 100 CEOs on the list performed exceptionally well, delivering on average a total shareholder return of 1,385% during their tenures and increasing their firms’ market value by $40.2 billion.
HBR‘s 2013 CEO Scorecard assesses the long-term performance of each CEO, from the first day on the job to the last, by looking at how much total shareholder returns changed over that time period (adjusting for country and industry effects). While Dean Freeman served as CEO of Quest Diagnostics, the leading provider of medical diagnostic testing services, total shareholder return was 1,014% (country adjusted), or 1,102% (industry adjusted).
During his tenure at Quest Diagnostics, Dean Freeman executed a dramatic financial turnaround by establishing industry leadership, effecting expansion through acquisition, and driving organic growth. Quest Diagnostics provided the third highest five-year shareholder returns among the Fortune 500 (1999-2003), and in 2004 was named to the Bloomberg Businessweek 50. The company’s market capitalization increased from approximately $350 million at the time of its spinoff from predecessor company Corning Clinical Laboratories in 1996 to more than $9 billion. Read more about Dean Freeman’s professional background.
The list’s top 5 CEOs are Steve Jobs (Apple), Jeffrey P. Bezos (Amazon.com), Yun Jong-Yong (Samsung Electronics), Roger Agnelli (Vale), and John C. Martin (Gilead Sciences). See the complete list on HBR.org.
Career advice from New York Times editor Adam Bryant
Adam Bryant, New York Times Senior Features Editor, spoke at Boston University School of Management about the patterns, themes, and lessons shared with him by CEOs of companies like Foursquare, Hill Holiday, Panera Bread, and Pfizer.
Summary from WTBU:
When he graduated from a Bucknell University, Kenneth Freeman had little idea where he would go from there. Now, he’s a dean of the School of Management of a different BU, after serving as CEO of Quest Diagnostics, Inc. and as a partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., the world’s foremost private equity firm.
Dean Freeman sat down with WTBU News’ Kyle Clauss to discuss the School of Management’s upcoming second century, the school’s new focuses and technology, and how it can compete with giants like Harvard Business School and MIT’s Sloan.
Dean Freeman also gives a few glimpses inside his personal life, from his typical Starbucks order, to his Monopoly strategies, to the chances of him tickling the ivories at the SMG faculty Christmas party.
Today, the website Poets & Quants and Fortune magazine online feature Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman‘s very big plans for the School of Management’s future: to “ultimately convince people that there are really three elite business schools in Boston.”
Below are excerpts from the article on Poets & Quants:
The school has identified the three sectors of the economy where it believes, in [Dean Freeman's] words, “there will be more job creation, more financial market creation, and more value creation for societies, communities and countries over the next five, ten and 20 years.” With faculty approval gained earlier this year, Freeman is now aligning the school’s professors, research, and curriculum around the three growth areas.
The three are health care and life sciences, digital technology, and alternative energy and sustainability. In academia where loyalty is to a discipline rather than an industry or economic sector, Freeman, 62, is attempting a revolutionary change in both mindset and behavior. Whether the Harvard MBA can pull it off is anyone’s guess, but the odds are certainly not in his favor.
The three [sectors] are health care and life sciences, digital technology, and alternative energy and sustainability. In academia where loyalty is to a discipline rather than an industry or economic sector, Freeman…is attempting a revolutionary change in both mindset and behavior.
To make those sectors an integral part of Boston’s culture and approach, Freeman plans to recruit new faculty, create academic centers in each field, launch global case competitions in each area, and infuse much of the coursework with case studies and experiential projects in each of the three industries. “We’re recruiting for specific disciplines but we are also doing it with a twist by focusing on specialization in digital technology, the health sector or energy,” he says. “We want to create leading global institutes in each of these sectors to engage faculty here and with other institutions. For us to be distinguished, we have to have cutting-edge research in these fields.”
For incoming students, the focus on those three areas starts immediately. “When students arrive we provide them with a brief overview of those sectors and then they move through the traditional management discipline training,” adds Freeman. “We are transforming case content to reflect these sectors much more so than the traditional sectors of the past. And the classroom discussions will be supplemented by lectures from today’s executives in these fields.”
Articles by John A. Byrne
Weiss shares inside story of Fenway Sports Group
Ed Weiss, General Counsel of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group, visited the School of Management in Spring 2012 and told Dean Ken Freeman the inside story about the Sox owners’ purchase of a famous soccer team in Liverpool, their investment in a NASCAR team, and NESN. Their discussion is part of our new “Conversations with Ken” video series.
Excerpts from The Wall Street Journal:
Talk about transparency: Ken Freeman, dean of the Boston University School of Management, works in a small cubicle smack in the middle of the building’s busiest floor, with a floor-to-ceiling wall overlooking the hectic atrium.
Freeman, 61, ditched his more formal office last summer, after just one year in the space. Gone is the assistant-as-gatekeeper. (She’s still upstairs, near his old office.) Gone is the wood paneling and privacy. (See glass wall, above.) Gone, too, is the air of inaccessibility that envelops many executive suites.
The old office is being converted into a meeting room that will comfortably hold 20 around a conference table. His new one measures less than 200 square feet, he estimates.
Freeman, who joined Boston University in summer 2010 after seven years as CEO of Quest Diagnostics Inc. and then as a partner at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., spoke with The Wall Street Journal about his cramped-by-choice quarters…
See the Wall Street Journal‘s Q&A with Dean Freeman here.