Bachelor of science, zoology, California State University, Long Beach
Territory manager (sales), Allergan Inc. (1980)
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
Gavin Herbert, founder of Allergan. Gavin has the best customer sense of anyone I’ve ever met in my 27 years in the industry.
He instilled the discipline in me to make sure I spent time with the customer. Understanding the customer is paramount to any other activity.
Gavin is of the highest morals and standards, no matter the business condition. Whether you are doing extremely well or having difficult times, his standards never change. He also has a good sense of balance between his personal and business life.
What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
The difference between passive and active listening. The ability to really listen to your customers, your employees and your shareholders and really understand what they’re saying, not just the spoken words but the meaning behind the words.
This creates the clear ability to take advantage of opportunities and identify issues, always with the adage, ‘Two ears, one mouth.’
What has been your toughest business challenge?
We have doubled in size over the past four years, growing in revenue from approximately $500 million to $1 billion and a market cap of about $300 million to $3.3 billion. When we first spun out from Allergan in 2002, we had an aggressive attitude with everyone working toward one common mission. As you get bigger, you do not want to eliminate that sense of small company mentality. Don’t let size get in the way of your ability to act fast and stay focused.
Describe your leadership style:
I believe in promoting positive conflict. Have an open and candid environment that will challenge the norm. Allow people to take risks and learn from mistakes. Create an open and candid environment. I do not believe in hierarchies. No one is more important than anyone else in the organization.