Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Ford’s Mulally Says He’s Shared “Business Transformation” Tips With Microsoft’s Ballmer

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Because he is such an amiable exec and replies to his emails himself — take note, other big-time CEOs — Ford CEO Alan Mulally wrote me back this morning and confirmed that he had indeed been giving advice to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about various ways that the company could rejigger itself.

AllThingsD reported that the tech giant plans to announce its management and organizational restructuring on Thursday.

Mulally, whom Ballmer knows well, appeared at a Microsoft exec retreat several months ago, to talk about how he turned the automaker around. Since then, Ballmer has told many top execs that he was relying on some good advice from Mulally about how to reorg the company.

While he noted that he was not part of the actual block-and-tackling on that effort, Mulally said he shared with Ballmer the key elements that he used to transform Ford.

Here’s his email reply to me:

Steve and I have known each other for many years, and Ford and Microsoft are longtime business partners.

While we clearly are not part of any Microsoft reorganization or its business operations, we have shared with Steve — as we have with many others who have asked — the elements of the Ford business transformation, including the importance of having a compelling vision and the relentless implementation of a plan that delivers the vision. A key part of the Ford transformation, as you know, has been everyone working together, with an organizational structure and operations absolutely focused on delivering the plan.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik