Printer Friendly

Power surge: corporate America's most influential black executives are still on the move.

Twice since 1988, BLACK ENTERPRISE has compiled lists of the most powerful African-American executives in corporate America. These are senior executives who have line authority, and who control subsidiaries, divisions or departments with substantial impact on their companies' fiscal health and direction. (Human resource professionals and individuals with predominantly staff functions were not eligible for either list.)

Four years ago, the minimum compensation package (including salary, bonuses, stock options and pension plans) for the executives chosen was $250,000 (see Cover Story, "The 25 Hottest Black Managers in Corporate America," BE February 1988), and all the managers were male.

Last year, (see Cover Story, "21 Women Of Power And Influence In Corporate America," BE August 1991) 21 top African-American female executives with annual compensation ranging from $100,000 to more than $500,000 were selected.

This year when we updated our lists we found that this is a mobile and high-flying group. In fact, 22 have received promotions since 1988, and five have been appointed president or chairperson of their company or a division.

Welcome To The President's Suite

In fall 1991, Dorothy A. Terrell, 46, was appointed president of SunExpress, the 7-month-old, Methuen, Mass.-based subsidiary of $3.2 billion Sun Microsystems Inc. (SMI). Her 135-person telephone-sales force is a profit center that provides direct-marketing and telephone sales for SMI companies. SunExpress sells products such as peripherals, printers and accessories to SMI customers worldwide. Terrell, who previously managed a 1,200-employee Digital Equipment Corp. manufacturing plant and who was slated for a London sales post with Digital, projects that the SMI subsidiary's first fiscal year revenues will exceed $150 million. "I enjoy running my own show, having responsibility and being accountable," she says of her new position.

Since September 1990, Alfred F. Boschulte has been president of NYNEX Mobile Communications Co. He is responsible for cellular telephone service, retail and installation operations in the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan area, much of upstate New York, Boston, western Massachusettes and Providence, R.I. Prior to this position, Boschulte, an engineer by training, was vice president of marketing and planning at NYNEX Corp. In 1988, he was vice president of Carrier Services at NYNEX Service Co. and its $3 billion market of 200 interexchange telecommunications carriers in New York and New England.

Another executive who entered the president's suite is Rudolph J. Frank. Since 1989, when Frank, now 48, was director of AT&T Bell Laboratories 5ESS switch-system software laboratory in Napierville, Ill., he has been moving up. Now he is president of the 2,573-employee communications systems group of Cincinnati Bell Information Systems Inc.

Sylvia Rhone, too, continues to make beautiful music--careerwise (see Cover Story, "Pumping Up The Jam For Profits," December 1991). She was recently promoted chairperson and CEO of ATCO-EastWest, a division of New York City-based Atlantic Records. Previously, she has been co-president and CEO of EastWest Records.

Dennis F. Hightower is placing the glove print of the world's most popular mouse all over Europe. Last fall, Hightower, 50, became president of Disney Consumer Products, Europe and the Middle East. That entails overseeing book and magazine publishing, merchandise licensing, children's records and music, film promotion and television sponsorship. Hightower also manages 14 consumer product subsidiaries and 28 regional markets, including France where Euro Disneyland will open this spring.

His goals remain consistent: expanding Disney's revenue; broadening corporate alliances and conquering new markets. In 1987, when he joined Disney as a senior vice president, 100% of the company's European revenues were licensing-based. Now, only 46% of Europe's projected $2 billion 1991 revenues will come from that area. Recently Disney entered an exclusive 11-year relationship with Swiss-based Nestle Corp. to co-develop branded food products. And Disney has the No. 1 children's monthly magazine in Poland and Hungary. "The most satisfying part," explains Hightower, "has been orchestrating the evolution of the business from a traditional licensing approach to a proactive marketing approach where we are taking more direct control in the licensing and marketing of our image."

Selling Success

In Naperville, Ill., Joseph S. Colson Jr., 44, who has always thought of himself more as an engineer than a manager, has moved yet another rung up the corporate ladder. Three years ago, he was executive director of the Switching Systems Performance Division of Bell Laboratories, a subsidiary of American Telephone & Telegraph Co. (AT&T). Today he is vice president of the firm's 1,000-employee, $1 billion Switching Systems U.S. Division, which sells telephone switching systems to U.S. phone companies.

Says Colson of his new position: "It gets me out into the offices of the customers." he explains. He adds that he now deals with "very basic decisions affecting AT&T's business."

Question: Does a corporate culture clash ensue when one shifts allegiance from "Big Blue" to "Ma Bell?" Curtis J. Crawford knows the answer. When BE last reported on Crawford he was a vice president of channel management for personal computers and related products at IBM Corp.'s National Distribution Division in Montvale, N.J.

In December 1988, after 15 years with IBM, Crawford accepted a job as vice president of sales services and support for AT&T's computer division.

Last July, he was appointed vice president of AT&T Microelectronics, in Berkeley Heights, N.J. In this position, he and the division president share global responsibility for the Microelectronic division's worldwide marketing, sales and engineering design centers. Crawford, 43, says his "openended position" provides international scope and direct manufacturing experience.

Ronald E. Goldsberry has been on a roll at the Ford Motor Co. since 1988. First, he moved from the post of general manager of the Plastic Products division to executive director, sales and service and strategies for the North American Automotive Operations where he developed strategies for the Lincoln and Ford divisions. Last October, he was appointed general sales and marketing manager for Ford's Dearborn, Mich.-based $4.5 billion, 6,900-employee Parts and Services division. Goldsberry's division supports more than 6,000 Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships and Motorcraft distributors.

Up The Corporate Escalator

Hughlyn F. Fierce, Chase Manhattan Bank's senior vice president with responsibility for Chase banks in Arizona, Maryland and Ohio, is an executive whose reach and grasp mesh. In 1988, Fierce, 56, who had just returned from Hong Kong, was Chase's senior vice president and Asia-Pacific area director. Now his bailiwick is closer to home. And Fierce, who also acts as the bank's liasion in its relations with New York City, New York State and the United Nations, says he had no problem making the transition from international to domestic banking. Says Fierce: "This is where the action is."

Ira D. Hall's career at IBM Corp. has been one of logical progression. In December 1990, Hall, 47, took a big upward step from assistant treasurer to become treasurer for Big Blue's U.S. division. As treasurer, Hall is responsible for cash-flow planning and measurement, cash management, portfolio investment, banking administration and risk and insurance management.

Maurice F. Holmes, 49, of the Rochester, N.Y.-based Xerox Corp. has been appointed vice president of Xerox's color-printing systems development unit. Prior to this move, Holmes, who holds degrees in physics and mechanical and aerospace science, was vice president of the company's Advanced Reprographic and Design Technology division.

Ron James, 41, has also moved up. From 1987 to 1990, he was vice president and general manager for large business markets at Northwestern Bell, which was owned by U.S. West. Now he is vice president and CEO Minnesota at U S WEST Communications.

Jerry L. Johnson, 44, is also high on the U S WEST pole. In 1989, he led the move of U S WEST's headquarters to Phoenix, while vice president of Home and Personal Services. Now, as U S WEST vice president for the western region for Network and Technology Services, Johnson handles all residential, corporate and public operations for the company's 9,000-employee northwest region, as well as the technical services, which include all engineering functions. Johnson presides over a $350 million to $400 million expense budget and a $500 billion to $600 billion capital budget.

Linda Keene, 39, has carved an even sweeter niche for herself at Pillsbury Corp. Keene made her mark when she was vice president and general manager of the desserts and specialty products unit, where she increased profits by 200% in three years. After a short stint as vice president of strategic planning for the $1 billion baked-goods division, last December, she became vice president and general manager for Pillsbury's Desserts and Special Products division, with full profit and loss responsibility for that business.

L. Ross Love, 44, knows that good advertising sells and provides rewards. He is a vice president of advertising for Procter & Gamble Co. Previously, he worked as the company's general advertising manager. Ross' prime directive is to ensure that the company's advertising delivers measurable bottom-line results.

Gerald D. Prothro, 49, has made a steady ascent through IBM's ranks for 23 years. Last October, he became a director of IBM's Information and Telecommunications Systems. Previously, he held several senior positions including that of assistant general manager, IBM U.S. Education; in 1988, director and secretary of the corporate management board and in 1987, Data System Division vice president and site general manager of the Poughkeepsie N.Y., operation. Prothro's new position entails worldwide responsibility for disseminating information on any new communication strategies, systems or software to all IBM employees.

When featured in be last August, Paula A. Sneed, 44, was president of General Foods USA Foodservice Division in White Plains, N.Y. However, she made a tremendous leap when she was promoted to executive vice president and general manager for Kraft General Foods, a national post with higher responsibility.

In June 1990, Earl S. Washington was reappointed vice president of Strategic Management for Rockwell International Corp.'s $2 billion defense electronics division. He has held other top spots at Rockwell including vice president and general manager of their Autonetic Marine Systems division. Washington, a 23-year Rockwell veteran, says he was asked to return to strategic planning to help chart a path for the company in a post-Cold War era.

Global Players

Marilynn A. Davis shifts gears smoothly and swiftly. Last fall, she left her spot as vice president of risk financing at New York City-based American Express Co. to become a senior director in the American Express Bank Ltd. (AMEX Bank). AMEX Bank is a private bank, for wealthy individuals, their companies and select financial service institutions. It has $14.8 billion in assets, operates worldwide except in the United States and provides a variety of financial services, such as asset management and wealth accumulation. Davis reports directly to the bank's CEO and works on strategic, operational and financial projects.

The 1982 Harvard MBA, who also has a master's degree in economics, says with all the changes in international financial markets it is "a great time to be involved in the AMEX Bank."

In January 1990, Jerry O. Williams was named chairman/managing director of The Monotype Corp. PLC., a $40 million Salfords, England-based company. His job: to help turn around an ailing multinational company that manufactures pre-print graphics equipment. From 1988 to 1990, Williams was an investment consultant with KBA Partners, L.P., a private venture capital and investment partnership, which purchased Monotype in 1990. Prior to that Williams, who many had thought would become the first African-American CEO of a major U.S. company, had been president and chief operating officer of AM International, a worldwide graphics equipment manufacturer.

Williams relishes his new post: "The business environment in the 1990s and in the next century is going to take place on a global basis."

Providing New Direction

Hazle Jeffries Shorter, M.D., is director of worldwide medical communications at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. in Wilmington, Del. In this position, she tracks the medical information on all marketed products and those about to come to the market. Previously, she was U.S. director of Medical/Marketing Services, DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co.

Last August, Renee V. H. Simons, 42, has become director of sales promotion in the newly formed trade marketing department overseeing the promotions, objectives, strategies and plans for all Philip Morris USA cigarette brands. Prior to this post, she was group director for Philip Morris USA's Virginia Slims.

In 1991, Charles E. Taylor, 47, joined Lamalie Associates Inc., a Cleveland-based international executive search firm. From 1984 to 1991 he held a number of positions with the multinational oil company, BP America, including general manager of the Marine Transportation Division and manager of Rebranding/Reimaging. At Lamalie, Taylor specializes in searches for oil and gas and higher education executives. "These areas," he says, "give me a for-profit focus and a nonprofit focus which is pretty much an inflation cushion."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:McCoy, Frank
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Previous Article:25 best places for blacks to work.
Next Article:The business of health care.

Related Articles
Pumping up the jam for profits.
Enhancing your visibility.
25 years of corporate achievement.
The rise of the Black professional class.
Meeting the challenge of corporate leadership.
Life atop the crystal stair.
Has the Glass Ceiling Really Been Shattered?
Roberts shifts from GM to dotcom.
30 for the next 30.
Who will guide me?

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters