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Joseph Galli Jr.
The child of first-generation immigrants, Joseph Galli Jr.
inherited both his
fathers name and his
In a tough, blue-collar environment the elder Galli routinely worked six days a week into his
late 70s at the automobile salvage business he
operated in Pittsburgh.
Like many new Americans the Gallis made success their number-one priority and sacrificed accordingly.
The younger Gallis mother was hospitalized with an infection when Galli
was four; when she
son was picking up the broken English of her
Italian in-laws, the ailing woman persuaded her
doctors to release her
ahead of schedule.
Throughout Gallis career his
mother pushed him to improve his
English and sent him e-mails when she
encountered erudite words that she
should add to his
found early outlets for his
competitive drive in athletics.
A fierce wrestler in high school, he
would immediately run three to four miles if he
lostno matter how late the hour.
In college he
was a four-year starter on the varsity wrestling team and ACC Champion his
senior year, dominating in more than one hundred matches.
turned the defeat into motivation to attain victory in the future.
As de scribed in BusinessWeek
once ran 10 miles and jumped rope for an hour by an indoor pool in order to make weight.
coach, Those he
couldnt beat, he
Galli held a variety of positions with Black Decker, culminating in his being named president of the Worldwide Power Tools and Accessories Group in 1993 at the age of 35.
work ethic was unmatched: he
spent more than 75 percent of his
time traveling and would routinely show up on weekends at a Home Depot
to assist salespeople in giving demonstrations to customers.
MARKETING GENIUS, MEGALOMANIAC, OR BOTH?
reputation in marketing, pushing sales of saw blades and drill bits by assigning them catchy names like Piranha and Scorpion.
was credited with developing and launching the DeWalt brand, a $1.5 billion global business that led the power-tool industry.
personally crafted a plan to launch the DeWalt brand as Black Deckers high-margin entry for skilled tradesmen and consumer do-it-yourselfers.
own youthful drive, he
recruited legions of college students, dubbed swarm teams, who trumpeted the DeWalt brand at store openings, union halls, and NASCAR races.
team caused sales to balloon from practically zero to $1.4 billion in only seven years.
By age 38 Galli was the second-highest paid executive at the company, overseeing the business that provided 64 percent of company revenues.
played a pivotal role in reengineering Black Deckers European, Asian, and Latin American operations.
DiCamillo noted in BusinessWeek , Galli was the best sales and marketing executive who ever reported to me (December 11, 2000).
Some executives accused Galli
of penalizing employees who did not emulate his
, aware of the criticism, said he
cared only about one thing: performance.
remarked in BusinessWeek
, It boiled down to results.
People said I didnt like them because of style.
And I said no, it was because you missed your numbers (December 11, 2000).
By age 37 he
had a falling out with his
boss and left abruptly in 1999.
Depending upon which source one might view as most credible, Galli
either was fired or quit; all agreed, however, that the departure was fast and furious.
NOT AFRAID TO TAKE HIS
Galli accepted and then quickly reneged on a job offer from PepsiCo in order to take a job with the Internet start-up Amazon as president and COO.
The dot-com sweetened its initial offer with a $7.9 million signing bonus.
noted in Forbes
magazine, I felt terrible about letting Pepsi
said that he
learned a lot from his
brief stint at Amazon
, including the ideal manner in which to make decisions in a quick-paced business environment.
remarked in the Philadelphia Daily News
, Its better to make one hundred decisions with 70 of them right than to make 10 decisions and get nine of them right (September 18, 2000).
Galli next jumped to VerticalNet
, an Internet business-to-business company, but lasted only 167 days as its chief.
Arguably more comfortable in bricks than clicks, Galli accepted a job as president and CEO of Newell Rubbermaid.
Around that time an ugly cartoon in the Philadelphia Business Journal
took a direct shot at Galli.
The satire portrayed him as a rat fleeing a sinking ship in a Rubbermaid tub.
stated in Forbes
, I went through some things I dont ever want to do again.
Im a stronger and less naive manager than I ever would have been (October 1, 2001).
Most alarmingly for Galli
, Newell Rubbermaids sales force seemed dangerously out of touch with its customers.
cleaned house in the company, firing members of upper management and bringing in newthat is, unspoiledtalent in entry-level sales positions.
The focal point of his
strategy to turn around the company and make an indelible mark as CEO was a management initiative known within company confines as Phoenixa reference to revival.
After a brief training program, groups of young, overly ambitious future sales superstars were sent to the front lines, spending long, intense days in retail locations, doing whatever they could to win back customers.
told Fortune , This is the single most important thing were doing (December 30, 2002).
The initiative was somewhat successful.
After six consecutive quarters of declining sales the company posted sales increases in 2002.
In a later particularly successful quarter, sales in the companys eight key retail accountsincluding WalMart, Home Depot
, and Lowesspiked 19 percent.
Again recalling his
own precocious drive, Galli
went to college campuses to recruit green reps who would be responsible for continuing to enhance sales figures.
Perhaps choosing those with whom he
could most identify, Galli
scouted out charming jocks and go-getter sorority presidents.
When asked about his
hiring strategy by Fortune , Galli
looked for achieversand more often than not, thats outside the classroom (December 30, 2002).
Despite the fact that most of the Phoenix charges were 23-year-olds, they were treated like seasoned, savvy employees.
encouraged them to take ideas to the companys corner offices, arranging for them to give presentations to upper management.
Many were promoted to midlevel sales, marketing, and other positions, and a generation of Galli believers began infiltrating the company.
A lover of Napoleon who read 10 books on the French leader and was fascinated by the rapport he
created among his
relished the loyalty he
inspired from his
LEADING CHANGE WILL NOT PLEASE EVERYONE
Further cost-cutting measures instituted by Galli
included the closing of more than 80 facilities, including Rubbermaids flagship plant in Wooster, Ohio, and the firing of 12,000 employees.
But few measures created more resentment than his
decision to cancel the companys annual Lake Geneva golf retreat, which cost $1 million and took two hundred top executives away from their offices for a week.
, Some dont like my style, but guess what?
Were not running a country club here.
Were going to win.
Were going to be a company that makes our numbers (October 1, 2001).
Not surprisingly, some of the executives that Galli
fired turned against him and vented their resentment in Internet chat rooms.
Attempting to exploit Gallis perceived weaknesses, they called him Little Joe and sharply criticized his
use of corporate jets and the companys $20 million NASCAR sponsorship.
Someone went as far as to send an anonymous warning package to Forbes
; included was a letter purportedly from a 20-year company veteran demanding that Galli
be stopped before he
ransacked the company.
But even Galli
acknowledged the tough road both behind and ahead; in a letter to stockholders quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution , he
wrote, Make no mistake, it has not been an easy journey (April 18, 2004).
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