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EiR Profile: Gary DiCamillo

Gary DiCamillo

Gary DiCamillo

Gary DiCamillo, turnaround expert and current Entrepreneur-in-Residence at HBS, started out like any other HBS student upon graduation.

He wanted to build functional skills and knowledge, so he spent five years at Procter & Gamble before going to work at McKinsey. “I loved the job, especially the problem solving side of it,” he said of his work at the consulting firm. But his two biggest jobs lay ahead of him: as the President of Worldwide Power Tools and Accessories at Black & Decker replica breitling bentley 6.75, where he led the team that launched the DeWalt brand of power tools (a success story that should be familiar to all HBS RC students), and as the CEO and Chairman of Polaroid when it struggled to stay relevant in the digital era. Through it all, he developed a love for what most people consider to be an extremely challenging aspect of business: turnaround management.

“The fun part about turnarounds,” DiCamillo said, “is not just the cutting but the building. Cutting is getting [a company] to a sustainable core business you can build from replica breitling Aeromarine . You find changes in the business model that allow you to hit the inflection point that allows you to grow the company again. That’s what we did at Black and Decker. [It] was the perfect example of a cut and then build strategy.”

Nowadays, DiCamillo advises companies going through a turnaround. He sees a few things in common in the struggling businesses that he gets parachuted into: they don’t really know where their revenue is coming from www.replicaforbest.co.uk, they refuse to cut losing products, and they are unwilling to take bold risks, preferring instead to make “small incremental changes whereas more radical surgery is required.”

DiCamillo also has a particular interest in turning around “underachieving startups,” newly established businesses which may be profitable but aren’t living up to their market potential. According to him, usually this is because the product is great but the business model is lacking, particularly in the technology industry. “This is where the HBS guys and gals tend to do a very good job of going in and partnering with the hi-tech team and creating a more robust biz model on top of a good technical model.”

For those interested in turnaround management, DiCamillo pinpoints the top qualities that drive success: they must enjoy solving difficult problems, be intellectually curious and be able to think in a non-linear fashion. “Coming up with the conventional solution is very often not the right answer,” he said.

But for HBS students intending to become entrepreneurs or leaders someday, DiCamillo imparts these words of wisdom: “Sometime later in your career, you will have some experiences that open new doors for you. While you may have a great consumer Internet idea when you’re 25 years old, sometimes when you’re 35 and you’ve worked in an industry for a while, your insights into that industry are pretty good. Don’t be in a hurry [to start your company]. Your insights and experience will serve you well.”

November 16, 2011
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