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Inspire!: Why Customers Come Back by Jim Champy

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Chapter 9What Could Be More Inspiring Than the Melding of Cool and Sport?

WHEN JOCHEN ZEITZ TOOK THE HELM OF THE GERMAN SPORTS SHOEMAKER PUMA IN 1993, HIS FIRST PRIORITY WAS SURVIVAL. THE COMPANY HAD GONE THROUGH FOUR CHIEF EXECUTIVES IN AS MANY YEARS. AFTER EIGHT STRAIGHT YEARS OF LOSSES, IT WAS MIRED IN DEBT AND WAS BEING HOPELESSLY LAPPED BY INDUSTRY LEADERS ADIDAS, NIKE, AND REEBOK. WORSE, NO ONE EXPECTED ZEITZ TO SUCCEED. AT 30, HE WAS AN APPRENTICE BY EUROPEAN STANDARDS, THE YOUNGEST CEO OF A PUBLICLY HELD GERMAN COMPANY. MANAGER MAGAZINE PREDICTED HE WOULD “CRUMBLE UNDER THE PRESSURE.”

Reminiscing, Zeitz said recently, “When you look at the photos, you think, I was so young. How could anyone give me so much responsibility?” But as Puma’s ...

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