Finding The Right Prescription for Growth

Many B.E. 100s were hurt by last year's ailing economy. Their remedy: Tighten operations and find creative ways to boost revenues.

Gourmet Cos. Atlanta, GA

101.000

157.400

55.84

ITS Services Inc. Springfield, VA

41.284

61.300

48.48

Universal Systems & Technology Inc. Centreville, VA

44.000

62.100

41.14

*In millions of dollars, to the nearest thousand. As of Dec. 31, 2001. Prepared by B.E. Research.

Top 10 Employment Leaders
 

COMPANY LOCATION EMPLOYEES SALES* EMPLOYEE-TO-
SALES RATIO**
The La-Van Hawkins Food Group Detroit, MI

7,319

246.000

1:34

Manna Inc. Louisville, KY

5,000

142.000

1:28

Barden Co. Inc. Detroit, MI

3,900

326.000

1:84

V & J Holding Cos. Inc. Milwaukee, WI

3,500

95.000

1:27

The Bartech Group Inc. Livonia, MI

2,650

105.000

1:40

Johnson Publishing Co. Inc. Chicago, IL

2,594

412.372

1:159

Exemplar Manufacturing Co. Ypsilanti, MI

2,302

168.880

1:73

The Gourmet Cos. Atlanta, GA

2,230

157.400

1:71

The Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Philadelphia, PA

1,750

419.000

1:239

RLLW Inc. Las Vegas, NV

1,600

45.000

1:28

*In millions of dollars, to the nearest thousand. **in thousands of dollars, as of Dec. 31, 2001. Prepared by B.E. Research.

At Ebony, A New Johnson is CEO
When Linda Johnson Rice was named president and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co (JPC) in April, she became the first black woman to be named CEO of a top five BE 100S company (JPC is No. 4 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $412.4 million in sales). Rice’s appointment was announced by her father, the company’s legendary founder, John H. Johnson, who remains chairman and publisher.

Rice, 44, who began going to the Chicago offices that house Ebony and Jet magazines and Fashion Fair Cosmetics at 7 years old, didn’t collect her first full-time paycheck until 1980 when she became fashion editor at Ebony. A few years later she became vice president and assistant to the publisher. Then, in 1987, after receiving her M.B.A. from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, Rice was named president and chief operating officer.

Mere days after her latest appointment, Rice spoke with Caroline V. Clarke, editorial director of BE Books, about how it feels to be CEO.

BLACK ENTERPRISE: It was inevitable that you would one day become CEO of your family’s company. Was this a big moment for you, or was it more of a formality?

LINDA JOHNSON RICE: I am so delighted! I’ve been president and COO for a while and I knew that this would come, but I wasn’t expecting it. And the way it happened was so poignant. We had just finished our regular editorial meeting for Ebony, and after every meeting I stay and talk to my dad about the issues of the day. Once everyone left, he hands me this formal letter on his stationary and the first paragraph says, “Thanks for all you’ve done while I was out. You’ve done a wonderful job.”

He’d been out sick for almost a year. Thank God he’s back now and doing fine. So, I just thought this was a congratulations letter, and I said, “Dad, this is so sweet.” Then I kept reading, and the second paragraph says, “In light of all that you’ve done, I want you to have the title of CEO.” At first I was totally speechless, then I looked at him and said, “I’ve been working toward this my whole life.” He was silent

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