Donald Friedman, Exec VP-CMO, CA

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Donald Friedman, exec VP-CMO of IT management software company CA, had his work cut out for him when he joined the company last year. At that time, CA was mired in a financial scandal that began in 2000 and eventually brought down CEO Sanjay Kumar, who pled guilty to financial fraud in April.

Friedman said that wasn't the only challenge facing the company.

"It was the classic marketing problem," he said. "Nobody knew who we were. They didn't know why they should do business with us. It was compounded by the financial scandals."

CA was successful by most measures "but a little dysfunctional," Friedman said. It had many different products and individual campaigns that didn't support each other. "When you talk about the challenges we had at CA, they were broader than marketing," he said.

Friedman doesn't have a classic CMO's resume. He spent 30 years at IBM Corp., half in product development, some in sales and some in product marketing. He's also been CEO of two companies and worked as a consultant. This broad experience helped him in his effort to reposition CA.

Through formal research and spending significant time with customers, Friedman learned that, more than anything, customers wanted ways to manage IT in a simpler, more integrated fashion. The sheer number of technology products and solutions had multiplied in organizations, but management tools had not kept up, customers said. "They want it all plugged together so that it makes sense," Friedman said.

CA also looked within. "We got introspective about CA's core capabilities and strengths," Friedman said. That analysis informed CA's decision to streamline its product offerings and pointed it towards acquisitions to strengthen its core assets.

"Once we got that insight, it began to drive our vision called Enterprise IT Management," Friedman said.

Last November, Computer Associates was renamed CA and launched a global branding campaign, "Believe Again," that included print and online. The campaign, created by a team of Interpublic Group agencies led by Draft, asked people to "remember when technology had the power to inspire you?" and told them to "believe again" in the power of IT.

A new effort, introduced in June, included print and online, and added direct mail and sponsorship to the mix. It builds on the "Believe Again" effort, including customer testimonials.

CA isn't out of the woods yet. Its stock is still struggling, and 10% of its work force was laid off in August in a cost-cutting move. While there's plenty of room for improvement, Friedman said CA is poised to recover.

"We've got lots of problems yet, but we've got the strategy and positioning figured out," he said. —Carol Krol

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