Tucci, Joseph M. 1947–

views updated

Joseph M. Tucci

Chief executive officer and president, EMC Corporation

Nationality: American.

Born: 1947, in Brooklyn, New York.

Education: Manhattan College, BA, 1968; Columbia University, MBA, 1984.

Family: Married Maureen (maiden name unknown).

Career: RCA Corporation, 19701986, systems programmer, followed by several other positions; Unisys Corporation, 19861990, president of U.S. Information Systems; Wang Global, 19901993, executive vice president of operations; 19931999, chairman and CEO; Getronics, 1999, deputy CEO; EMC Corporation, 2000, president; 20002001, president and COO; 2001, CEO and president.

Address: EMC Corporation, 176 South Street, Hopkinton, Massachusetts 01748; http://www.emc.com.

Joseph M. Tucci became president of EMC Corporation in January 2000 and a year later was also named chief executive officer. EMC was a leading provider of products, services, and solutions for information storage and management, most importantly including RAID (redundant array of independent disks) storage systems as well as a comprehensive number of NAS (network attached storage) file servers and a full line of software designed to manage, share, and protect data. EMC sold its products both directly and through distributors and manufacturers such as its largest partner, the personal-computer company Dell, which sold cobranded EMC systems.

When Tucci joined EMC, after a decade of strong financial gains the company was no longer the uncontested market leader in information storage. Three factorsthe economic downturn that began in 2000, the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and increased competition from IBM, Hitachi Data Systems, and othersproceeded to reverse the once-prosperous direction of EMC. Fortunately, Tucci was experienced at turning companies hit by financial hardships around; during his period of leadership at EMC, he proved that he could indeed weather any economic storm.


Tucci earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from Manhattan College, of Riverdale, New York, in 1968 and a master's in business administration from Columbia University in 1984. Tucci began his professional career in 1970 as a systems programmer at RCA Corporation. Later Tucci became president of U.S. Information Systems at Unisys Corporation, after the company was formed by a merger between Burroughs and Sperry in 1986.


In 1991 Tucci joined Wang Global, an information-technology services company, as an executive vice president of operations in charge of all marketing, sales, service, and support. He became chairman of the board and chief executive officer in December 1993 and remained at those positions until June 1999. Tucci directed the operational and financial reorganization of Wang Global over the six-year period beginning in 1993, during which the company went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Tucci called Wang a "business execution failure," as the company had entered too many segments of the office computer market and failed to notice the industry shift from mainframe computers to local area networks connecting arrays of personal computers.

Tucci began Wang's turnaround by identifying the company's past strengths: a large and loyal customer base, a global identity, a comprehensive range of services, superior service delivery, strategic alliances with industry leaders, and retention of key technical employees. He guided Wang through a costly but successful emergence from bankruptcy protection and, eventually, transformed the company from a manufacturer of midrange computers into a service provider of network- and desktop-technology services and solutions.

Between 1995 and 1999, Tucci spearheaded acquisitions of 10 companies in order to complement Wang's existing service-provider capabilities, moves that increased the number of Wang employees to 20,000 and raised its annual revenues from under $1 billion in 1994 to $3.5 billion in 1999. At the end of this period, Tucci arranged a $2 billion acquisition of Wang by the Netherlands-based information-technology services company Getronics, where Tucci served as deputy CEO from June to December 1999. Tucci gained valuable leadership and management experience while directing the reorganization of Wang; the lessons he learned there proved useful when he was faced with similar problems at EMC.


In January 2000 at EMC, the then CEO Mike Ruettgers hired Tucci as his CEO-in-training (in the newly created position of president and COO) after a four-month recruitment effort, saying Tucci was the only person he considered qualified for the job. When Tucci assumed the leadership role a year later, he was handed a company with a terrific financial record. Ruettgers had successfully spurred the company's growth for a decade, at an average annual revenue increase of 37 percent. Between 1997 and 1999 the data-storage powerhouse doubled its revenues to $8.87 billion; by 2000 EMC was the clear market leader in information storage.

When Ruettgers stepped down in January 2001, the bull stock market that had helped support the company's 10 years' worth of fabulous returns disappeared. However, Tucci was not disheartened when EMC failed to meet its first-quarter earnings projections in April 2001for the first time in five yearsdue to the collapse of the technology industry. He wisely adhered to the same formula he had successfully employed at Wang, strenuously slashing expenses and comprehensively renovating the existing business model.


Faced with a different economic world, one of Tucci's biggest challenges would be to change the company's culture of isolation to one of effective cooperation with both customers and rivals. Prior to Tucci's joining the company, employees at EMC had developed an exaggerated superior attitude with respect to the company's products, complete with a "take it or leave it" approach with regards to product sales. Tucci ushered in a more customer-friendly attitude when he relinquished the company's exclusive use of direct, competitive sales in order to adopt the additional strategy of selling products indirectly through partners, which lowered expenses. Tucci also initiated sales of storage software to customers who used rival hardware, rather than only to its own hardware customers.


Another of Tucci's rescue tactics was to forcibly drive the company to extend its market and technology leadership, beyond high-end information-storage systems and software and into comprehensive information-management solutions. Tucci also directed the company to reduce staff, refocus business units, tighten expenses, and reduce inventories in order to ensure its future profitability.

Keeping in mind a long-term commitment to cutting expenses while continuing to invest in new technology, Tucci instituted the most enterprising schedule of new-product introductions in EMC's history, remodeling the company's existing product line in the process. Successful innovations included the CLARiiON CX series, which positioned EMC as the price and performance leader in midlevel storage; the visionary high-end storage architecture of the Symmetrix Direct Matrix; the Centera Content Addressed Storage, which established a new category of storage for the fixed-content market; and the expansion of the Celerra series of network-attached storage.

Tucci also ushered EMC into the field of open-storage management software, overseeing the introduction of an expanded line of multiplatform software that was eventually recognized by analysts as as being the best in the industry. In 2003 Tucci led EMC's acquisition of three leading independent software providers: Documentum, specializing in enterprise content management; LEGATO Systems, specializing in backup, recovery, and other storage; and VMware, specializing in server virtualization.


In the latter part of 2001 Tucci was able to begin lowering EMC's cost structure, increasing cash and investments, and strengthening management through the hiring of executives from other major technology companies. Tucci expanded EMC's Global Alliances and Professional Services programs and acquired six additional software companies. He committed about three-fourths of EMC's 2001 research and development budget to strengthening the company's information-storage software and focused the company on delivering information-storage solutions, which reduced the total expense of operations and created additional value for EMC's stockholders.

After the two terrible years of 2001 and 2002 had resulted in more than $620 million in total losses, thousands of employee layoffs, market-share reductions, and a lessening of pricing power, EMC regained its footing in 2003. Tucci spent more than $3.6 billion to strengthen its product line, acquire five software companies, and further shift its revenue ratio toward higher-margin software rather than hardware. Lisa Di-Carlo of Forbes.com reported that the Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich stated in a research report, "EMS appears well positioned in that storage remains a high spending priority, and execution has been excellent" (January 22, 2004). In an article by Sean Kelly for Communication News, Tucci was quoted, in reflecting on the troubling times at Wang and EMC, as saying, "Leading through those times can be extra challenging, but also extra rewarding. If you have strong leadership, people look up" (January 2002).

As of 2004, thanks to Tucci's leadership, EMC continued to be the world leader in information storage, retrieval, and management, helping organizations such as retailers, banks, Internet service providers, manufacturers, and government agencies incur low costs and receive premium value from EMC's comprehensive spectrum of information services. Revenues from 2003 totaled $6.24 billion.


Tucci described himself as type A aggressive and was significantly more outspoken than his predecessor at EMC. While in training for the CEO position, he told analysts that EMC would be the leader in the network-attached storage market by the end of 2001 (it was ranked second at the time). The news media widely reported the bold, attention-grabbing prediction. In recalling that incident, Tucci gave credit to his employees for believing in his goal and making it become a reality. By the end of the first quarter of 2001, EMC had posted revenues of $285 million, which was tops in the network-attached storage market; the former leader had dropped to second with revenues of $226 million.


Tucci was also a director of Paychex, a provider of payroll, benefits, and human-resources solutions. He was chairman of EMC's Stock Repurchase and Bond Redemption Oversight Committee and a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions Committee. He was one of 150 CEO members of The Business Roundtable and chaired its Task Force on Education and the Workforce. He was one of eight chief executives who directed the Computer Systems Policy Project, the leading technology-advocacy organization within the industry. Tucci was also a member of the Board of Advisors of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing. His hobbies included skiing, golf, scuba diving, boating, and other water-related activities.

See also entries on Getronics NV and EMC Corporation in International Directory of Company Histories.

sources for further information

DiCarlo, Lisa, "The Return of EMC," Forbes.com, January 22, 2004, http://www.forbes.com/2004/01/22/cx_ld_0122emc.html.

Kelly, Sean, "Storage: The EMC Way," Communications News, January 2002, http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m0CMN/1_39/82350315/p1/article.jhtml.

William Arthur Atkins