What: Global leader, Strategy Consulting Group
Where: PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P
CORPORATE THOUGHT LEADERS
Several years ago, Grady Means’ wife bought him a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But the 53-year-old’s ferocious schedule has left him with scant time to tool around the neighborhood surrounding his Washington office.
Means is global leader of PWC’s Strategy Consulting Group, overseeing about 300 partners that bring in some $1.5 billion in annual revenue. He has emerged as one of the top critical thinkers in the b-to-b revolution and penned the tome "MetaCapitalism: The E-Business Revolution and the Design of 21st Century Companies and Markets." The book, which argues that technology-enabled management will lead to everything from better efficiency in the capital markets to more efficient outsourcing, has become standard reading for many top b-to-b executives.
For Means, who advises all manner of Fortune 500 companies on their e-business strategies, "MetaCapitalism" is the culmination of nearly 30 years of studying economics, engineering, politics and technology and their cumulative effect on business. A one-time assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and former staff member of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, Means sold his consulting firm, Sage Associates, to Coopers & Lybrand in 1984.
Now Means is concentrating on taking his experience and leveraging it in the corporate technology space. Though he speaks in the serene, measured tones of a former professor, his enthusiasm for technology is clear. "B-to-b is as big an economic change for business as hunting was to farming," Means said. The importance of outsourcing is central to his theory. "You can go to the exchanges to build [an] entire supply chain," he said. "You can stretch your capital further than ever before."—Philip B. Clark
Who: Steve Case What: Chairman Where: AOL-Time Warner Inc. Why: Case, former chief of America Online Inc., will now lead the new business-to-consumer media conglomerate. Evidently, Case is honing in on more than just consumer eyeballs, as evidenced by AOL’s recent deal with PurchasePro. But whether he can execute for the more discerning b-to-b crowd is in question.
Who: Keith Fox What: VP-corporate marketing Where: Cisco Systems Inc. Why: The company’s top marketer has been instrumental in Cisco’s emphasis on employing the Internet to communicate with its clients and suppliers. The result? Fox helped Cisco to a banner partnership year, signing extensive co-marketing deals with everyone from Bain & Co. to Ford Motor Co.
Who: Lou Gerstner What: Chairman-CEO Where: IBM Corp. Why: In 2000, Gerstner solidified his role as IBM’s e-business savior. In particular, IBM Global Services, Big Blue’s revenue-gushing consultancy, has pulled away as the clear technology advising leader. Next up for the former American Express Co. president: convincing Congress to issue privacy guidelines.
Who: Rajat Gupta What: Worldwide managing director Where: McKinsey & Co. Inc. Why: Gupta is the top partner and thought leader at the world’s premier consulting firm. A 27-year veteran of McKinsey with a mechanical engineering background, he is credited with transforming the New York-based firm into the top CEO-level e-business strategy consultancy.
Who: Mark Jarvis What: Senior VP-marketing Where: Oracle Corp. Why: Jarvis is Oracle’s leading voice on the intersection of technology and marketing as well as a vocal critic of Microsoft Corp. After launching several ambitious marketing projects, Jarvis was quiet in the second half of 2000, leading some to believe this year will show whether those projects have come to fruition.
Who: Dean McMann What: CEO Where: The Ransford Group Why: McMann is to the Big 5 consultancies what Tom Hagen was to Vito Corleone: a trusted consigliere. McMann co-founded Ransford in 1993, and since then, his firm has been the leading adviser to the Big 5, guiding them on their ongoing transformation from bean counters to e-strategy advisers.
Who: James E. Murphy What: Global managing director of marketing & communications Where: Accenture Why: Murphy is responsible for Andersen Consulting’s $175 million rebranding campaign touting the name change to Accenture. It’s a gambit unique in professional services marketing history and will set a precedent for big companies considering name changes for years to come.
Who: Gerry Podesta What: General manager of e-commerce Where: GE Polymerland Why: Podesta, a 17-year General Electric Co. vet, has helped GE Polymerland, the giant’s plastics hub, emerge as an industry leader. Among his biggest bets: steering GE Polymerland on a go-it-alone track, eschewing deals with other plastics industry exchanges.
Who: Harvey Seegers What: President-CEO Where: GE Global eXchange Services Why: Seegers spent 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, topping off his career as aide de camp to the Corps’ commandant. Today, he reports to Jack Welch as head of GE’s most ambitious b-to-b unit to date, GE Global eXchange Services, which is going head-to-head against IBM Global Services.