Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman
Chairman of the Board and CEO

Owens Corning

Mike Thaman has been the chairman of the board of Owens Corning since 2002 and its chief executive officer and president since 2007. Prior to joining Owens Corning, he spent six years as a strategy consultant at Mercer Management Consulting where he was a vice president in the New York office.

Mike is also a member of the board of directors for Next Era Energy. He is a member of the Business Roundtable where he chairs the Energy Efficiency Task Force. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Policy Advisory Board of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Toledo Symphony. He holds BS in electrical engineering and computer science.

 

Watch interview highlights

 

A view from the top

In this short video, Michael Thaman shares his view on today's key business issues: risk, volatility, innovation, talent, and growth

 

Quotes

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

We live in an environment today where it’s easier to forecast three to five years from now than it is to forecast next year, because of the uncertainty.

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

We make products that benefit from a need for more energy efficiency in the world, as well as the growth of renewable energy. We also benefit from population growth, particularly populations moving into the middle class in developing countries like Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

The risks we focus on in terms of our growth are more near-term, so it’s the uncertainty in the US political process, in US fiscal policy, and in Europe’s sovereign debt and banking system.

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

Conventional wisdom had been that we weren’t going to see a recovery in housing until we saw recovery in jobs. I’ve never believed that’s right. I’ve actually believed we’re not going to see a recovery in jobs until we see a recovery in housing.

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

Time will ultimately heal housing, which is a demographic driven business, so we feel confident that demographics in the US and North America will drive household formation and the need for new-home construction.

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

The big strategic changes for us are going to be in capital deployment. We have very successful businesses that will generate a lot of cash. How we decide to deploy that cash, in terms of M&A or returning it to shareholders, could direct our strategy. Generally we want to find outlets for capital that put us into great businesses and industries.

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

When we look at products that we provide to an emerging middle class, we don’t believe they want a quality standard below what Americans or Europeans have come to expect. What we have seen, though, is that we have to find ways to build capacity in emerging markets at lower capital costs.

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

Much of our R&D efforts have been devoted to looking at core manufacturing processes, which we have developed over the last 70 years. We’re stepping back from those and rethinking. Where is the most productive capital in our processes? How do we re-engineer those processes to get more bang for the buck? How do we produce low-cost, high-quality products with smaller capital footprints and smaller footprints in the market?

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

When we look at the megatrends that will define the next couple of decades of global growth, you’ve got population growth and energy efficiency, especially as they relate to demographics in the US.

Michael Thaman

Michael Thaman

Chairman of the Board and CEO, Owens Corning

We would never want to overwhelm a region of the world with too many expats. Conversely, we use expatriation as a development opportunity to take the best of the best and give them development experiences.

 

Read interview transcript

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What is your general outlook for the global economy?

We’re obviously living in very volatile economic times, both in the US and around the world. Our goal is to focus on the things we can control and make sure that we’ve planned effectively for the things that are outside of our control. We certainly see that the debt crisis in Europe could get dramatically worse and that that could affect our operations, not just in Europe, but it could have some spillover into the credit markets and therefore our operations around the world.
We’re focusing on this more as a balance sheet management issue, which is to make sure we have good control of our cash flows and good contingency plans in terms of managing against risk and uncertainty. We also need to make sure that the maturities on our debt and the availability of our financing is in good shape so that if we do get into a credit situation, we would weather the storm and succeed in that environment.

How confident are you of continued growth at Owens Corning in this environment?

We’re very confident about growth, in the mid-term and the long-term. We live in an environment today where it’s easier to forecast three to five years from now than it is to forecast next year, because of the uncertainty. We make products that benefit from a need for more energy efficiency in the world, as well as the growth of renewable energy. We also benefit from population growth, particularly populations moving into the middle class in developing countries like Brazil, Russia, India, and China, where there’s a need for heart-of-the-market products for better housing and infrastructure. That’s a trend we think is somewhat irreversible, so we have a lot of confidence that Owens Corning products will serve that world very well in the coming five to 10 years.

What impact did this past year’s historic weather events had on your building materials business, roofing in particular?

In the roofing industry, inclement weather can have an impact on demand, and we tend to look at that as a long-term trend. So over any 15- to 20-year period you’ll find some portion of that market driven by weather-related events, including hailstorms, high winds, and hurricanes.

We try to plan very effectively to have products available. Obviously, when a weather event creates a spurt in demand, we want to be able to bring products into that marketplace to help people rebuild. We deploy inventories early in the spring and then into the fall to make sure we’re well positioned.

What is the one risk to Owens Corning’s growth that you’re most concerned about, and why? How are you preparing to deal with it?

The risks we focus on in terms of our growth are more near-term, so it’s the uncertainty in the US political process, in US fiscal policy, and in Europe’s sovereign debt and banking system. As long as we run a very competitive, disciplined, and capital-efficient company, and ensure our ability to not just survive, but to thrive in tough times, we feel that, combined with the macro trends that drive our overall growth, we’ll be well-positioned for significant long-term growth.

What’s the one thing that governments in the US and foreign markets can do to better support your company’s operations?

Our building materials business in North America is exposed to the construction markets—in particular new construction in both the US and Canada—and obviously we’ve seen a downturn in US construction over the last five years that’s absolutely unprecedented. Conventional wisdom had been that we weren’t going to see a recovery in housing until we saw recovery in jobs. I’ve never believed that’s right. I’ve actually believed we’re not going to see a recovery in jobs until we see a recovery in housing.

We’re beginning to hear economists and policymakers conclude that two or three million jobs missing from the US economy are, in fact, jobs that would have been created in housing if we could get back to the 1 or 1.5 million housing starts over the next three to five years. Today we have a number of policies that are actually headwinds to the recovery of the housing industry. Leaving aside policies that might actually improve the housing industry, we have a mortgage system, an appraisal system, and an overall banking system that are holding back a recovery in housing.

Now, I don’t think it would cause an immediate and vertical recovery in housing, but as important as this sector is to the economy and to jobs, any bureaucracy and policy that’s a headwind to recovery should be looked at by policymakers. We would direct them to look at homeowners with high-interest mortgages who can’t refinance because they’re deemed not creditworthy, but are still making payments. It seems that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are better off owning those mortgages at a lower interest rate than at a higher rate. It’s got to be a better loan if it’s more affordable.

We would also look at appraisal systems that use foreclosures and other data to estimate home values. For example, you may have a couple of bidders on a house in foreclosure, the price has been established, but then the appraisal won’t support a mortgage.

Those both are policies that are standing in the way of possible forward momentum in housing, and momentum in housing will create the jobs that will get the economy going again. So those are key areas of focus that we would ask policy leaders to look at very hard.

Are you optimistic that the winds may or may not shift in that direction a year from now?

Without sounding unduly pessimistic, we don’t run our business counting on policymakers to make policy that will somehow improve our markets. We definitely believe that we’re coming out of a long credit crisis, that the housing market was undermined by poor lending practices and a credit bubble that swelled house prices, and that the collapse of those house prices caused people to retreat from the market.

What solves credit crises is time. We’re now five years into letting some of the excess of this credit crisis work its way out of the housing market. Time will ultimately heal housing, which is a demographic-driven business, so we feel confident that demographics in the US and North America will drive household formation and the need for new-home construction. We would say that any policies that are anti-credit in that sector are bad, because they’re just slowing down the inevitability of the sector’s recovery.

In what ways has your overall strategy changed over the past year, in such areas as business model, markets, pricing, customers, and products?

Our strategy is fundamentally unchanged. We believe we have great businesses that make useful products in well-structured industries. Anything we can do to make our businesses more competitive, to make our products and offerings to customers more successful, to shape the industry to our advantage, and to improve our profitability is good strategy. We have put many tactics and initiatives in place to make those things come true, but our fundamental strategy has been unchanged for decades at Owens Corning.

So is it safe to say you don’t anticipate any strategic changes for 2012?

The big strategic changes for us are going to be in capital deployment. We have very successful businesses that will generate a lot of cash. How we decide to deploy that cash, in terms of M&A or returning it to shareholders, could direct our strategy. Generally we want to find outlets for capital that put us into great businesses and industries.

In what ways is the attractiveness of different countries or regions changing, either for sales or for operations in both of Owens Corning’s core businesses?

Owens Corning makes products that tend to be very beneficial to populations as they achieve a middle-class lifestyle. When you want better transportation, there’s more fiberglass in your car. When you want better housing, you want better roofs, insulation, and bathroom fixtures. Our products go into those types of applications. So as we see unprecedented population growth in parts of the world, namely China and India, with economies moving towards middle class, that creates big growth opportunities for our company.

As we continue to focus on our developing-country strategy, we’re well-positioned in Brazil, India, and Russia. We have some work to do in China, so we’re working hard to get the right kinds of capabilities on the ground in order to improve our competitive position there. Our greatest focus in the near term, though, will be the recovery of the US housing construction market. With that, as well as our developing-country growth, we feel that we’re well-positioned to take advantage of the next decade.

What differences exist in your operations between developed and emerging markets?

When we look at products that we provide to an emerging middle class, we don’t believe they want a quality standard below what Americans or Europeans have come to expect. What we have seen, though, is that we have to find ways to build capacity in emerging markets at lower capital costs. We need either smaller-scale assets, due to higher capital costs versus production, or to be able to achieve competitiveness at lower price points. Therefore we need to be able to get to return on capital with a smaller balance sheet, because we have lower income or lower margins.

Much of our R&D efforts have been devoted to looking at core manufacturing processes, which we have developed over the last 70 years. We’re stepping back from those and rethinking. Where is the most productive capital in our processes? How do we re-engineer those processes to get more bang for the buck? How do we produce low-cost, high-quality products with smaller capital footprints and smaller footprints in the market?

We’ve been quite successful at that, so we actually believe that our developing-country strategy is giving us manufacturing technologies and insights that we can then take back to our existing, bigger-scale facilities in developed markets in the Americas or Western Europe.

How has building relationships and partnerships become more important to succeed in your newer markets, such as China?

Partnerships are important anywhere in the world. In the developing economies, you have to be more attuned to where the thought leaders are in that economy, as well as in your industry, because they may not necessarily be where you have found them in developed economies. There are different types of entrepreneurialism, different types of start-up companies. So we rely on having great talent on the ground.

In Owens Corning’s core businesses—building materials and composites—our employees are out in the marketplace, calling on customers, seeing applications. They’re our eyes and ears. Their ability to cultivate the right relationships with the customers, who are driving growth, is fundamental to our success in those markets. So while at times we may use joint-venture partners, or rely on existing relationships to access markets or technology, the critical success factor for us is going to be the quality of our people on the ground and their ability to understand the unique needs of that marketplace and that customer base. We need to give them the resources and authority to take the actions necessary for us to succeed.

How is your approach to managing enterprise-level risk changing?

Undoubtedly, the regulatory oversight structure has caused every company to make its approach to enterprise risk management more formal and transparent, particularly as it relates to boards of directors and governance. Our initiatives around enterprise risk management have caused us to more closely codify and communicate what we’re already doing. We’ve always been a company, because of the volatility in our markets that thinks a lot about scenarios that looks at key pinch points in our supply chain that looks at key risks as they relate to legal violations, such as antitrust or the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In what ways have your sustainability initiatives regarding energy, the environment, and social concerns become an element of your cost reduction, corporate reputation, or revenue growth?

Sustainability is a passion of our company. In many ways, what our company does is driven by what we consider to be great sustainability practices. When we look at the megatrends that will define the next couple of decades of global growth, you’ve got population growth and energy efficiency, especially as they relate to demographics in the US.

Those combined, if you look at our business footprint, we’re producing fiberglass that makes windmill blades longer and lighter and that makes pipes for infrastructure and energy-production facilities non-corrosive and non-conductive. We’re making insulation that saves energy. We’re making transportation vehicles lighter weight and more fuel efficient.

These types of practices have been in the basic sales toolkit of our company since the 1940s. We were telling customers then we can make your cars lighter and more fuel efficient. We can make your home more energy efficient. We can make your roof last longer. We can make your pipes non-corrosive and non-conductive. Those practices are now becoming heart-of-the-market, in terms of what the world needs to successfully navigate the next 100 years, when we’re going to see more wealth, but also greater need to utilise resources more efficiently.

We think of sustainability as a key business strategy at Owens Corning. We have a wonderful Chief Sustainability Officer, Frank O’Brien-Bernini. We look at how sustainability impacts our business, as a facility-facing activity, but much more importantly as a market-facing activity.

How much would the proposed US federal jobs program, aimed at retrofitting commercial buildings to improve energy efficiency, affect your business?

When you look at any federal program designed to improve the energy efficiency of construction, whether it’s residential or commercial construction, the details are going to matter in terms of what we’re trying to improve. We have building codes today that say you have to build to minimum standard. Then we have incentives, whether around energy costs or tax incentives, that may cause you to build to a higher standard than the minimum. Any rules that go towards making the basic structure of the building—the roof, the walls, the windows—and that are going to be around for 100 years, we believe it’s appropriate to put policy directives around making the structure more energy efficient.

Retrofitting buildings after the fact and trying to make them more energy efficient is much more expensive and uses much more capital than designing them correctly in the first instance. The first place to really move the needle on energy efficiency is in the original construction phase.

How is your approach to innovation changing, and from what parts of the company’s businesses are the greatest innovations coming?

We’re a process-driven industry—we’re a glass melter—so many of the product features we sell to our customers are designed into the manufacturing process itself, rather than the materials we use or how we fabricate them. The process itself, in many cases, defines the quality of the roofing product, the insulation product, and the fiberglass reinforcement. So we have a pretty even mix of process-related innovation investment and market-facing innovation investment. The magic for us is when we find market-facing innovation and process-driven innovation that line up together.

And as a result, we have the ability to do things in our facilities that produce a product that meets a very specific and interesting need in the market. Our most recent and exciting achievement in this area is the launch of our EcoTouch Insulation product. This year we came out with a new binder system in our insulation products that is totally natural based. It’s a plant-based binder system, 100 percent renewable. It basically replaces the binder system that the entire industry has been using for 70 years, so this is the first major revamp of our technology.

We’ve created a product that is every bit as comfortable to the touch and productive for the contractor, but now we’ve achieved the levels of GREENGUARD certification, LEEDs points, and environmental sensitivity that we’d never seen before with our other product lines. We believe it’s probably the most decorated and recognised product in the building materials industry in the year 2011. We are very happy that one of our big customers, The Home Depot, recognised us in 2011 with their Eco Options Award, which is their annual environmental award for the best environmental innovation in the building-materials industry.

We think we’ve got a real home run there, but it’s one of those great intersections of our best manufacturing and process scientists working together with our best marketers and our best commercial talent to come up with a product line that the market wants and that we can uniquely deliver.

To what degree can innovations be exported to other markets, and to what degree must they be developed in market? Looking across your various global markets, how similar are your customers and their needs?

This is probably the place where Owens Corning is the most different around the world. Our composites business, which makes fiberglass reinforcements, has numerous global customers and markets and, as a result, tends to have global product lines. The needs of the market around the world can be pretty similar in terms of product, product performance, and end-use application. So that business operates quite a bit as a global market.

On the building materials side, you tend to have global technologies but local markets, so pretty much everywhere in the world there is some desire to insulate. You can use fiberglass insulation or foam insulation. How it’s applied in the local market tends to vary. The customer base is different around the world. The market structure is different around the world. So for building materials, we have to be very aware of local building practices, local construction practices, local competition, and local rules and regulations. We have to figure out how to utilise our technology to be most effective in the context of that local market.

Your EcoTouch product and the related Handy Homeowners promotional campaign around it falls into the current wave of “consumerism,” with consumers involved in new products and service development. Has the growth in consumerism affected your strategies at all?

Consumerism and information in general is important to every business. On the building materials side of our business, we make products that you’d purchase relatively infrequently. We also make products that you don’t necessarily interact with. So even if you compare insulation and roofing to, say, windows or cabinets, you open and close your windows. You open and close the doors of your cabinets. You develop a point of view on the functionality of those products. When it comes to roofing and insulation, the benefits of those products are largely invisible to you. You’re more aware when your insulation and roofing products don’t work than you are when they do work.

Consumers will invest a certain amount of energy on becoming educated about roofing and insulation. More importantly, the contractor who uses our products in the home is a very important ambassador of our company. Contractors who understand how our product works can sit across from a consumer in a trusting relationship and say, “I would use these materials in my own home. I believe these are the best materials available on the market.” That is tremendously compelling to a homeowner concerned about materials.

We look at the consumerism movement and ask, How can we be most valuable to the contractors or to some of the intermediaries in our market who are ambassadors to the consumers? Our focus in the near term is more on the electronic exchange and sharing of information with the professionals in our markets. We’re allowing them to carry the information to the homeowner—in addition to enjoying a great homeowner brand with our Pink Panther icon and the Owens Corning name.

Is some of that behind the thinking of your Handy Homeowner video contest to affect both the consumer and when they talk to a contractor?

Generally we believe we need to continue to invest, in effect, to keep our name out there. So because these are products that are infrequently purchased if at any point in time let’s say 4 to 5 percent of Americans may be considering a new roof, 4 to 5 percent of Americans may be considering improving the energy efficiency of their homes, and obviously they don’t do that for 12 months out of the year, they might be thinking for two months of the year that they might want to go do a project like that, it’s a pretty narrow target of finding that 4 or 5 percent during the two months during the year that this happens to be on their minds.

One of the things you have to do is you have to be somewhat ubiquitous in keeping your name out there so that when that thought occurs to you, somehow the name Owens Corning passes in front of you, and you become predisposed to want to investigate the quality of our materials and the quality of our solutions. So we do things like the Handy Homeowner. We were involved in the HGTV Home Giveaway. We’ve been involved from time to time in other promotions and events to get our name out there and just get some buzz going in the industry about the Owens Corning name.

In what ways has talent become a strategic issue for Owens Corning?

In many ways, I would say talent is the strategic issue for companies. At the end of the day, people do business with people. Our customers want to buy from the company that they believe has the best people who will most effectively help them support and grow their business. Having the best people, who understand our markets wherever we are in the world, is very important to our success as a company.

I’ve been the CEO of Owens Corning for about four years, and one of the things I’ve been very passionate about is that I’d like future generations of our leaders to come from inside the company. We benefit tremendously from having people who have depth and a track record and experience in our markets. I’d also like them to come from market-facing and commercial-facing activities. Not to say that I don’t love our folks in manufacturing, finance, and human resources, but ultimately I want people who have been out in the marketplace, helping our customers make money, to move into our general management and executive-level positions. That’s where practical strategies that have a big impact on the success of our customers, and therefore our company, come from.

Are you confident that you will have the breadth of talent needed to deliver your global strategy?

Anybody who ever rested or felt confident that they had met all their talent needs probably isn’t aiming high enough. That’s a great source of impatience and in some ways paranoia. Are we doing enough? Are we going fast enough? Do we have enough initiatives in place to attract, develop, and retain the best? I think we’re making good progress. I’ve been very happy with what we’ve been able to get done.

Nonetheless, the challenges are different in our domestic and foreign markets. Emerging economies where we spend a lot of time talking about talent are India and China. We’ve been pretty successful in India, where Owens Corning has been a net exporter of talent, with some highly talented members of the Indian team running operations for us around the world and who have progressed into senior-level jobs.

We’re a little newer to the scene in China, but we’re growing a bit faster there than in India. China’s consumed all the talent we’ve been able to find and grow in country. Generally, we’re gaining the confidence and courage to bet on the younger Chinese talent. Conventional wisdom was that you needed to find experienced leaders in China to help bring your multinational company there. We’ve recruited those types of people, and they’ve been very effective in leading our Chinese operations, but we’re also seeing that the younger generation is very talented.

In what ways have the requirements for senior leadership positions throughout your organisation changed?

The requirements around senior leadership do go up, pretty much every year. Given the nature of global competitiveness, the rapidity of change in the global economy requires senior leaders to be more externally driven, more outside in, in their points of view. They need to be more creative in their thought processes around scenarios and how the world can develop. They also have to be very clever and capable in their ability to translate that into simple and clear objectives that an organisation can move the needle against every single day with confidence.

In a less interconnected, more multipolar world, it was easier to come up inside a market, believing you understood that market, and progress deep into a career as a senior executive. Today you have to be more agile to understand how the world’s interconnected and how your built-in biases of what you learned in the market over the last decade aren’t going to apply in the coming decades. So you need the ability to question your assumptions, to see clearly where your biases come from, to trust your instincts and give the organisation confidence in your experience. But you also must show a little caution, and when you get outside the zone of experience, to look outside in and figure out what the things are we can do today that will create value for our shareholders.

We’re now in finding senior leaders with a broader variety of experiences—staff jobs, line jobs, running mature businesses, running turnarounds, working in developing economies, working in more mature economies, having experience in Asia, having expat experiences.

Are you finding a need to move personnel across borders to fill talent gaps, and what skills or levels or functions are you moving most often and into what regions?

Like every company, we use the ability to move people across countries and expatriate people very judiciously. On one hand you want to give confidence to your employees in a region that you have great talent there and that you’re willing to bet on that talent and give them authority to make decisions and grow their business. That’s balanced against your need to develop executives and to inject experience and a learning curve into a developing economy more quickly.

We would never want to overwhelm a region of the world with too many expats. Conversely, we use expatriation as a development opportunity to take the best of the best and give them development experiences. Among our senior team, we spend a full day each quarter talking about talent and succession. We also spend three days on a retreat in the second quarter where we do a full review of our talent pipelines in all of our businesses. It’s a significant commitment of senior time. One of our most important conversations is whether or not we will expatriate executives and into what regions of the world. And not only how that will benefit the development of those executives, but how it will impact the development and the confidence of our team in country. When you can get the rightbalance you know you have a special executive.

What are the challenges and opportunities that younger workers, the millennial generation, bring to your company?

The millennial generation is interesting to us. I like to tell a story that, when I was coming out of college, the two hot jobs were consulting and investment banking. I ended up going into consulting. Those of us who went into consulting were worried that consultants only worked 70 to 80 hours a week, while investment bankers worked 100 hours a week. Were we going to fall behind in our development? How early in our career did we need to make sure we were doing the most challenging work to get the most experience and be able to have the most valuable careers.

Quite often today when I spend time talking with either undergraduate or graduate students, one of their first questions is about work/life balance, and I don’t find that unhealthy. It’s such a significant generational shift from where my classmates and I would have been 25 years ago to where folks are today.

I talk to young people about the need to learn, which sometimes means stretching yourself beyond your immediate comfort zone. What may seem like more work than you’re interested in doing within your concept of work/life balance may, in fact, be more rewarding than you think. Experiences you have travelling the world, going into environments where you’re in over your head and have to learn quickly are the experiences of life.

There are a couple of things I encourage them to do. One, find not so much a work/life balance, but a separation between work and life. When you’re working, work intensively, get things done, execute, and make things happen. But you also have to be able to step away from your work and spend time with friends and family. That balance may be more rewarding than you’d expect it to be.

Have you had to address that in a classic “generation-gap” sense, where you need to create an understanding about work and life among older and younger generations within Owens Corning?

There are conscious tradeoffs that have to be made here for the younger generation in terms of what level of lifestyle they would like to enjoy, and then how much of that is a birthright and how much is earned? I have found great personal reward in what I’ve been able to learn, the experiences I’ve had over periods of my life when I worked intensely. I’ve also had great satisfaction during periods where my job was a little less challenging, and I used that time to explore other interests. But my life would have been much less interesting, and I would have felt much less alive as a human being, if I had approached work cautiously and said, “I know for sure that too big a commitment to work is detracting too much from my overall quality of life.”

How does the company collaborate with educational institutions or governments to better develop a pipeline of future talent?

We have a conventional approach to recruiting and developing talent. The one big change we made five or six years ago is that most every undergraduate hired into Owens Corning would comes through a summer internship program. We looked at the costs of recruiting and retaining young talent and realised that the smartest thing we could do is pay them for three months so that we had 12 weeks to see them, to interview them, to see their capabilities, and to attract them to the opportunities our company offers.

Despite recent tough times, we haven’t cut back at all on our internship programs, because we need to continue to see young talent and have the opportunity to recruit right out of our internships. I’m pretty proud of that.

In what ways have the allocation of your time and attention changed over the past year, and will that return to “normal,” whatever that might be, in the near term?

A long time ago I concluded that the volatility we’re seeing in the world economy is the “new normal.” I don’t think that we can just get through this quarter, things will go back to normal, where I can start working less. I try to macro plan my time. I look at how much time I want to spend travelling, or with my senior team, or with my customers, or with our employees. Once I have a road map for the year, I’ll go back and adjust month to month, quarter to quarter. I try very hard to balance my time between them all.