Rock Stars, Athletes and Yellow Pages Executives

The confidentiality inherent in this closed industry kept jealousy at bay, and it no doubt encouraged many executives who were successful to stay with their current employers. You have to wonder if the large sums of money made by a few Dex executives may encourage some telco executives to consider opportunities in top management positions at independent publishers. This in turn could cause more turnover and further consolidation at all levels.

Utility publishers have long resented their independent competitors, not only because of the potential of lost market share, but also because of the opportunity the independent executives have to operate in a non-bureaucratic environment and the chance to make big money. While Dex is classified as an incumbent, private equity firms Carlyle Group and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe were able to generate significant returns for themselves and Dex top management.

This subject is not likely to be discussed from the podiums at any of the industry conferences, but it will certainly be a hot topic in the halls.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jim Bryant

    John,

    Good point. The old utility business model didn’t encourage risk taking or adequately reward successful risk takers. (I know this first hand.)

    I recall from my NYNEX days – circa 1986 – seeking corporate approval for a controversial business idea that I had (publishing the company’s directories on CD-ROM). One of the key decision makers confided with me at lunch that he probably couldn’t support the idea because “I’m planning to retire in 10 years and I need to play it safe in the meantime.”

    Jim Bryant

  2. John

    Jim,

    From my AT&T days (70's), following two guys down the hall in Basking Ridge:

    "How are you doing, Charlie?"
    "Oh OK, I'm retiring in only 8 years"

    Where is the incentive in that environment????

    John

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