The Davis File Featured

12:15pm EDT August 29, 2005
Born: Ironton, Ohio

Education: University of Cincinnati, metallurgy and materials science

First job: Labor on the shop floor in a hometown foundry

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

A couple of mentors in my early years exemplified a good manager; they were performance-focused but they were great at motivating their teams. They weren’t autocratic types.

I’ve always had great respect for Bill Davidson, CEO of Guardian Industries, and now I have an opportunity to work with him.

What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?

Surround yourself with good people.

What has been your toughest business challenge?

I joined Federal Mogul a year after we acquired an Indiana-based company that turned out to be a disappointment. There was mistrust between employees and managers, the business was fragmented, and just about all the metrics had been disappointing.

There were substantial changes required during that transition.

Describe your management style.

I hire the best people I can find, particularly strong ones who can cover my weaknesses. Then, I establish key objectives and leave them alone to do their jobs.