Xerox CEO optimistic about U.S. business innovation

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Orlando, Fla.—Xerox Corp. CEO Anne Mulcahy is optimistic about the prospects for U.S. business innovation despite the current recession.

“There is no more important time for research and innovation investment than now,” Mulcahy told a packed room of marketing executives at the American Marketing Association’s M.planet conference here. Mulcahy added that she was hopeful that the new administration’s economic stimulus package would take innovation into account.

“At times like this, success or failure depends on research and innovation,” Mulcahy said. During a previous economic downturn, she noted, Xerox executives considered cutting the company’s research and development funding. Instead, they cut $4 billion from elsewhere in the company’s budget and left R&D intact.

Marketing leadership within an organization also plays a vital role in tough economic times, Mulcahy said. “This is not a time to be quiet and subdued,” she said. “It is time to be bold, and marketing has to have a strong role.”

In a speech Tuesday, AMA CEO Dennis Dunlap said that businesses have to think long-term and prepare now for 2015 and beyond. His comments came a day after thousands of layoffs were announced by Caterpillar Inc., Home Depot, Sprint Nextel and other major companies.

“I know the current economic climate makes it seem like we should leave planning for the future in the future,” Dunlap said. “If there is any lesson from what is happening today, it is to prepare.” Most organizations are suffering the effects of failing to adequately predict the future, he added.

Dunlap suggested that marketing teams create a road map for their companies, focusing on core competencies, “high-impact” areas and the role that marketing can play in the future of their businesses.

—Christine Blank

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