On the circuit
- By Mark Bisnow
- Jul 18, 2005
Perhaps you can go home again after all. After a career spent globe-trotting for EDS, Jim Duffey is back in his old neighborhood.
The senior executive for U.S. government business at the $20 billion behemoth has spent 22 years with the company and has 13,000 employees working for him. Although his first job with EDS was in Bethesda, Md., he soon got assigned to the legal department in London. After that, he ran businesses in the Iberian Peninsula then South Asia for three years. He returned to the United States in 2002, when he was assigned to EDS' Dallas headquarters.
Now he's back in the Washington, D.C., area. While house hunting, he amazed his wife with his detailed knowledge of the local streets.
He came by that knowledge the old-fashioned way. In the early 1960s, when his dad was on home tour during a career as a foreign service officer, Duffey had a paper route for the afternoon Washington Star, with the "biggest basket you could put on a bike," he said.
Duffey recently reorganized his EDS domain into 12 portfolios to give account executives more time to sell existing offerings to multiple agencies.
Jeong Kim, who personally netted more than $500 million in cash from the sale of Yurie Systems to Lucent Technologies in 1998, could have spent the rest of his life golfing. But instead he's barely taken a breath, and he's happy with that pace.
Since late April, he's been commuting each week from his home in Maryland to Murray Hill, N.J., where he's president of Lucent's Bell Labs, the first outsider given that role in the company's 80-year history.
Lucent's former chief executive officer, Henry Schact, offered Kim the job four years ago, but he turned it down because he felt he wasn't technically skilled enough to command the respect of the world-class scientists at Bell Labs. But over time, he realized Bell needed a leader who could inspire brilliant people to commercialize their innovations better.
Kim certainly puts in his time. He says he gets to the office at 7:30 a.m. and usually works until at least 9 p.m. and often until midnight before returning to his hotel on weeknights.
His enthusiasm is infectious. He asked for volunteers to help him brainstorm ways to realign the labs and received 150 offers. He picked 30 of those employees to work with every night. n
Bisnow publishes the Bisnow on Business e-newsletters, including "CIO Weekly," which feature breezy interviews with leaders in a variety of fields. Free subscriptions are available at www.bisnow.com.