Born: Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, finance and accounting, Fordham University; he also is a CPA.
What is the greatest business challenge you have faced, and how did you overcome it?
That would have to be my current position as CEO of Ariba. What made it a challenge was the combination of so many things that needed to be addressed all at once, such as the need to reposition the organization, the need to right size and the need for a new product line. If there’s been one thing I’ve learned from this, it’s that in order to be successful as a CEO, you have to be realistic about the business. That means you have to accept the realities of what you need to change and deal with them properly.
Whom have you admired most in business and why?
That would have to be Jerry York who was the CFO that Lou Gerstner hired to turn IBM around in 1992. What I know I learned from him because he expected a CFO to act as chief operating officer, overseeing everything in the organization.
What is the greatest business lesson you have learned?
CEOs should have a realistic view. When times are challenging, management can be criticized for being too slow to act, and you just have to accept it for what it is. Only later, with the benefit of hindsight, will you know if you’ve been slow to act or to deal with the problems.
Ariba Inc. trades on the NASDAQ under the symbol ARBA.