Ram Charan´s Biography

Ram Charan was born in 1939 in Uttar Pradesh, in northern India. Young, he worked in his family´s shoe shop, before earning an engineering degree from Banaras Hindu University. After taking jobs in Australia and Hawai, he got back to his studies at the famous Harvard Business School, where he was awarded an MBA and a PHD. He began to teach at Harward, Kellogg School of Management, and Boston University. In 1978, he became a full-time consultant, solving business problems and advising many well-known companies, such as GE, Verizon, Novartis, Dupont, Thomson Corporation, Honeywell, KLM, Bank of America, and MeadWestvaco. His energetic, interactive teaching style has won him several awards, like the Bell Ringer award at GE’s Crotonville Institute or best teacher award at Northwestern. He is the author of various popular books on business including Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty: The New Rules for Getting the Right Things Done in Difficult Times, Boards That Deliver, What The CEO Wants You To Know, Confonting Reality, Execution and many more. He also wrote pertinent articles for magasines such as the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Director’s Monthly and Strategy and Business. Ram currently lives in Dallas (Texas), single and without children, dedicating his time to work.


DuPont CEO Chad Holliday was in Japan when he realised that the current economic crisis in the US was actually a global crisis, infecting not only the financial industry but all sectors. He got the evidence of it when he came back to his country: production was plunging dramatically, hotels were getting empty. His company was potentially in danger, so he decided to react immediately: he invoked the ‘Corporate Crisis plan’, an emergency measure (very rarely called up) to put appropriate disaster-control procedures in place. After 4 days of reflection and discussion, the ‘crisis assembly’ (composed of 8 out of the 17 company’ standing teams) had determined what needed to be done to ensure DuPont’s viability. Each employee was therefore being informed by a manager about the crisis hitting the company, and was asked to help conserving cash and reducing costs, without any delay. Overall, the employees seemed to get it, and a lot of actions were being taken, but Holliday wanted to go even faster. He spoke with each of the company’s top 14 leaders, to figure out what had to be done on the moment. One of the fastest way to save money was to fire the many outside contractors working for the company. Other measures such as closing production facilities, curtailing travel, reducing consulting, were also taken.
DuPont’s reaction to the spreading economic crisis took place in less than six weeks, thanks to it’s competent and reactive leader, Chad Holliday. His action must be an example to every leader.

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