in sales for fiscal year 2004, Otis must contend with some rather daunting challenges-like the turnaround of the Red Lobster chain, the 681-unit flagship that has failed to meet customer expectations in service and menu selection. he says, “No matter what a person’s level or function is within a company, he or she needs to understand the basics-how that company makes money.” -Carolyn M. Brown
E. Stanley O’Neal, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & President, Merrill Lynch & Co., Age: 53, O’Neal is the top executive for the $27.7 billion financial services superpower. He was given the mandate to increase the company’s profit margin and stock price when he became president in 2001 and went on to preside over one of the most dramatic restructurings of any Wall Street firm. More than 23,000 jobs were eliminated, including 19 senior executive positions. In 2003, his compensation was doubled from $14.39 million to $28.14 million, a reflection of Merrill Lynch’s improved performance, which included a 55% rise in its stock price. O’Neal launched his career at a GM assembly plant, graduating from the General Motors Institute and winning a scholarship to Harvard Business School, where he obtained his M.B.A. He joined Merrill Lynch in 1986 and was one of BE’s top African Americans on Wall Street in 2002.
Dan Packer, Chief Executive Officer & President, Entergy New Orleans, Age: 57, Packer is the first African American in the country to manage a nuclear plant. He develops Entergy’s strategic plan and is responsible for the overall financial profitability and operational success of the utility. Packer oversees customer service, product distribution, transmission, and generation. Entergy New Orleans, a division of Entergy Corp., employs 2,500 city residents and serves 190,000 electric customers and 147,000 gas customers. Prior to joining Entergy, Packer was a senior engineer with General Physics Corp. and served in the U.S. Nuclear Navy Program. The Tulane University M.B.A. graduate is also licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He currently serves on the boards of organizations such as the UNO Business of Higher Education Council and Bureau of Government Research.
Richard D. Parsons, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Time Warner, Age: 55, Parsons continues to surprise investors with his ability to make a profitable entertainment giant out of the worst merger in the history of corporate America-Time Warner’s marriage to America Online in 2001. He oversees the executive management team of the $43.9 billion company, the world’s largest media conglomerate. Time Warner stock hovered around $18 in late 2004, but Parsons says it’s only because of concerns about competition in the cable industry. The company’s other businesses, which include film, interactive services, television networks, cable systems, and publishing are strong performers. Parsons has devised a three-pronged strategy to expand the company’s franchises: continue to cultivate properties such as Harry Potter, advance technology in areas such as interactive TV and downloadable music.
Franklin D. Raines, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Fannie Mae, Age: 55, The $53.8 billion mortgage financing company has had its share of trouble-it was