The Garcia file Featured

6:27am EDT August 29, 2006
Born: Newburg, N.Y.

Education: Ithaca College, bachelor of arts degree

First job:
I sold financial products to banks on behalf of Citigoup.

What is the biggest business challenge you have faced, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been this job. We have more than tripled in revenues. Our market capitalization has gone from a little over $400 million to we’ve been over $4 billion recently. In five years, that’s a lot of change, and going from 1,200 employees to 4,200 living in 20 countries.

The biggest challenge has been to make sure that we do keep our values and our vision intact and communicated. It’s dealing with 12 different time zones.

Imagine you are talking to someone at 8 at night and it’s 8 in the morning there. You’re both at very different places. You’re either tired after a long day, or you’re rearing and ready to go in the morning. Those are tough things to overcome. The challenge of dealing with so many different time zones, so many different cultures and so many different countries is daunting.

What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
If you can’t understand it pretty quickly, then it’s probably not worth pursuing. If something is so complicated that you really have to focus on it and you can’t explain it, then it’s probably something that is ... not worth pursuing.

The other one is people fundamentally understand the truth. You can spin things any way you want, but the most important thing to be is just honest and factual. Even if it’s bad news, people like it, even customers. Just tell them the truth as honestly as you can.

It’s easier, No. 1, and No. 2, it’s amazing how well that works. So don’t spin things. Just tell it the way it is.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I’m an admirer of Sandy Weill for some of the things he’s done. What I admire about Sandy Weill was, this was a guy and his career was basically over, and he bought a little company in Baltimore called Commercial Credit and morphed it into Citigroup. That’s pretty impressive.

And while I don’t flatter ourselves to think that we’re going to become Citigroup, I do, in a small way, try to model Global Payments [after Citigroup]. We took a company that had some very core good things but was relatively small, and we have grown it enormously and morphed it into a much bigger company.

And my aspirations are to keep morphing it into a bigger company.