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Magee, David 1965-

MAGEE, David 1965-

PERSONAL: Born 1965; married; three children.

ADDRESSES: Home—Oxford, MS. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Wiley & Sons, 111 River St., 5th Fl., Hoboken, NY 07030. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Journalist. Has written for Associated Press, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, and Oxford Eagle.

WRITINGS:

Turnaround: How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan, HarperBusiness (New York, NY), 2003.

Ford Tough: Bill Ford and the Battle to Rebuild America's Automaker, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ), 2005.

The John Deere Way: Performance That Endures, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ), 2005.

Endurance: Winning Life's Majors, the Phil Mickelson Way, John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: A business journalist with a particular interest in the automobile industry, David Magee has written biographical treatments of two auto executives and the companies they shaped, or rather reshaped. Turnaround: How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan is a dramatic tale of a remarkable executive who seems to embody the multinational nature of the auto industry. As Booklist reviewer David Siegfried explained, "The ultimate international businessman, Ghosn is of Lebanese descent, born in Brazil and raised as a French citizen." When French automaker Renault bought out Nissan in the 1990s, they gave Ghosn, one of their most promising vice presidents, the task of turning around the ailing Japanese company. In addition to the challenges of coming into an unfamiliar company, Ghosn "also had to confront an entrenched Japanese business culture that at that time had seemed to stress perks, seniority and relationships over the bottom line," in the words of a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Ghosn started cutting costs, enforcing greater accountability, and closing unprofitable plants. At the same time, he was careful to reach out to his colleagues and employees. "Perhaps the most instructive sections of the book are the depictions of Mr. Ghosn's approach to confronting a new land, new ways and new problems," commented New York Times contributor Alan Cowell. "He does so not by issuing orders from the top, according to Mr. Magee, but by bringing together managers and executives from different disciplines, regions and cultures and forcing them to work in 'cross-functional teams' to devise turnaround solutions." With his team behind him, Ghosn announced in 1999 that he and his executive committee would resign if the company was not profitable by the end of 2000. Fortunately for him and Nissan, they met that goal, a dramatic turnaround for a company facing bankruptcy just a few years earlier. As Steven J. Mayover concluded in Library Journal, "Magee's very readable account focuses on Ghosn's strategies, making this a fine case study for the business student and academic."

In contrast to Ghosn, Bill Ford bears a name emblematic of the automobile industry and closely bound up with the economic history of the United States. However, in some ways Ford and Ghosn faced similar problems in turning around a company and challenging a corporate culture, as Magee recounts in Ford Tough: Bill Ford and the Battle to Rebuild America's Automaker. In the 1990s, under the leadership of Jacques Nasser, the company had begun to rely almost exclusively on sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks for its profits. Beginning in 2001, when he became the first Ford to head the company since 1979, Bill Ford sought to return to the smaller vehicles that used to be the backbone of the industry, even declaring 2004 "The Year of the Car." Unfortunately, according to Boston Globe contributor Royal Ford, "Magee's book tells followers of the auto industry little that most have not gleaned in substance from trade journals, the business press, and even parts of the popular press." While finding the book a bit "premature," Car Connection.com contributor Jim Burt also found that "Magee's book is worth reading. Bill Ford is a good story, as is his attempt to right the ship."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 2003, David Siegfried, review of Turnaround: How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan, p. 1261.

Boston Globe, November 7, 2004, Royal Ford, "Automaker Tale Never Looks under the Hood," review of Ford Tough: Bill Ford and the Battle to Rebuild America's Automaker. p. C2.

Library Bookwatch, January, 2005, review of Ford Tough.

Library Journal, February 15, 2003, Steven J. Mayover, review of Turnaround, p. 146.

New York Times, February 9, 2003, "N-I-S-S-A-N: Rah! Rah! Rah!," review of Turnaround, p. 36.

Publishers Weekly, January 13, 2003, review of Turnaround, p. 51.

ONLINE

CarConnection.com, http://www.thecarconnection.com/ (March 23, 2005) Jim Burt, review of Ford Tough.

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