Chairman Of Electronic Data Systems Speaks About 'High Performance' Business Culture

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Richard "Dick" Brown, chairman of Electronic Data Systems, was the guest speaker in the Sept. 17 Ben H. Williams Distinguished Speakers Series, sponsored by the Hankamer School of Business.
Sept. 20, 2002

by Nicole L. Anderson, Student Newswriter

Richard "Dick" Brown, chairman and chief executive officer of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), spoke at Baylor University on Sept. 17, as part of the Ben H. Williams Distinguished Speakers Series sponsored by the Hankamer School of Business.

Baylor students and faculty and Waco and Central Texas community leaders attended a noon lunch to hear Brown share about "Building a High Performance Business Culture." Brown spoke about the qualities of business leaders and business fundamentals.

"My thesis is - practice the discipline of leadership and focus on the fundamentals of business, then you can drive growth in good times and in bad," Brown said.

Brown said that business leaders create change, have the ability to see the future and a commitment to deliver success. A business fundamental that he focused on was excellence in service. Aside from being an EDS mantra, excellent service and commitment to customers is an invaluable skill, according to Brown.

Brown also spoke about the need for change and constant transformation in business. He encouraged his audience to focus on the culture of an organization and to use vision to begin with change in leaders. He asserted that "creativity and the guts to make mistakes" are essential qualities for someone to effect change.

"If you're not changing, you're not growing and in fact you are falling behind," Brown said.

Brown joined EDS in December of 1998. EDS is a Dallas-based global services company that provides strategy, implementation and hosting for clients managing business and technology complexities in the digital economy. The company serves the world's leading companies and governments in 60 countries and reported revenues of $21.5 billion in 2001.

Brown was formerly the chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Cable & Wireless PLC in London. He has spent 28 years in the telecommunications industry and held a number of executive level positions, including CEO of Illinois Bell and executive vice president of Sprint Corp. He has also served as president and CEO of H&R Block Inc.

Brown holds a bachelor's degree cum laude from Ohio University and an honorary doctorate from James Madison University. He currently serves on numerous boards of directors such as The Home Depot, DuPont and Vivendi Universal. He also is a member of the President's Advisory Committee on Trade and Policy Negotiations and the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.

The Ben H. Williams Distinguished Speakers Series honors the memory of Ben Williams, a member of the 1923 charter class of Baylor's School of Commerce and Business Administration. Williams was an outstanding alumnus and a trustee of Baylor who endowed a fellowship in 1953 that today funds five separate professorships at Baylor.

The next lecture in the series will feature 1963 Baylor graduate James S. Beard, who now serves as president of Caterpillar Financial Services and vice president of Caterpillar Inc. A Fortune 500 company, Caterpillar Inc. is the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. Beard's lecture will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 21 on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center.

For more information on the Ben H. Williams Distinguished Speakers Series, contact Cynthia Jackson, director of communications and marketing in the Hankamer School of Business, at (254) 710-3495.

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