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Transcript of the video interview

Page history last edited by Michael J 13 years, 9 months ago

View from the Top: Anne Mulcahy on private equity, the environment and Citigroup


Published: May 9 2007 16:59 | Last updated: May 9 2007 16:59


Chrystia Freeland, Financial Times US managing editor, interviewed Anne Mulcahy of Xerox. In this segment she discusses private equity, the environment and Citigroup. This is a transcript of the interview, which you may watch here. You may also read the transcript of the other segment of the interview, in which Ms Mulcahy discusses women in business.


Financial Times: Thank you for joining us, Ms Mulcahy.




ANNE MULCAHY: It’s a pleasure to be here.


FT: You have led quite a profound restructuring of your company. Have you ever thought that that would have been easier to do had you been a private company?


MS MULCAHY: I do think there’s some benefits for major turnarounds and transitions for the private equity business and it makes some sense if you need to get tough things done during a relatively short period of time, but I have to say I balanced that with my belief in the public company system which says that there should be a degree of discipline and transparency associated. For us, I don’t think that the public setting was inappropriate for what we were doing.


FT: As more and more companies go private, do you think there’s a risk that overall there will be a loss of transparency in American business?


MS MULCAHY: Yes. I think that there’s an argument made for the fact that maybe we don’t have transparency totally right and that we need to keep working at making it meaningful to investors and not overly bureaucratic for companies. So I don’t necessarily think we’re at the goalpost here in terms of transparency for public companies. But I think that to solve it by suggesting that that’s not a worthwhile mission and that being private and having to avoid transparency is the answer is not appropriate as well.


FT: Can you imagine Xerox ever going private?


MS MULCAHY: I’m sure I could in the sense, is it possible? Yes. Is it preferable? No.


FT: Is it likely?


MS MULCAHY: No, I don’t think so. I think in many ways the role of private equity in terms of really trying to create or unleash value - a lot of that heavy lifting’s already been done at Xerox.


FT: Are there any types of jobs which are being done in the United States right now which you can see moving offshore completely or more completely, going forward?


MS MULCAHY: I think as multinational companies, we really need to be thinking about how we make it a lot more attractive to develop a much larger portion of talent that’s based out of math and science disciplines. So the reality is, yes. The sophistication and capabilities that are available are getting better and better from a global perspective.


FT: And maybe salaries are lower?


MS MULCAHY: Salaries are lower, but I have to tell you I’m a big believer that that shouldn’t be the driving force here, because that is temporary and if you look at a lot of the offshoring kind of progress and you look at places like Ireland, which was the hot rage ten years ago, or if you look at India today even, where salaries and real estate and infrastructure are all coming upmarket, what you’re really looking for is the best global capabilities that are sustainable over a longer period of time.


FT: Some people are still talking about the paperless office. If we ever get there, is that a problem for Xerox?


MS MULCAHY: I think it’s an opportunity. I think that a lot of it is what we’re focused on with our services business, and it’s helping our customers go digital. If there’s one thing that we’ve learnt coming through our turnaround, it’s that you had better like change and embrace it because defending the status quo is not a good thing!


FT: Could Xerox ever become a target for environmental groups?


MS MULCAHY: I think that the fact that certainly our industry is a user of paper says that part of the problem and part of the solution are very much characteristics associated with the industry. A lot of our history, interestingly enough, has been as a leader in environmental concerns. We are one of the first companies to really talk about re-use and re-manufacturing and one of the first companies to target greenhouse gas emission reductions. So our track record is actually one of stepping out and volunteering before it becomes mandatory... a lot more to do! But I think that we’d like to be able to step out and identify solutions as we go along and be a helper and not a hinderer.


FT: You’re on the Citigroup board. How much more time do you think Chuck Prince should be given.


MS MULCAHY: I think we’ve just talked about Xerox coming through our period of transition. I think Citigroup’s in a period of transition and I’m a big believer that rushes to judgment are not good for companies, that none of us can do what’s expected of us in short windows of time, that a lot of efforts, whether they’re on the governance side or the growth side or the business model side, take longer to deliver, particularly in big complex companies, and that rushes to judgment generally don’t serve shareholders very well.


FT: Is it possible that maybe Citigroup is just too big to thrive?


MS MULCAHY: There’s two kinds of scale. There’s big for the sake of big and that’s just size and clout. And then there’s big because they’re strategic. So if Citigroup can deliver on what it’s working on, which is synergies between some of the financial services arms of its business, things like the brokerage business and the retail banking business, and if those can become synergistic where there’s growth to be had and better one-stop shopping for clients, then big is terrific.


FT: Was Vikram Pandit worth the price?


MS MULCAHY: We’ll find out! Certainly I think most of his reviewers would say that he’s a first-class investment for Citigroup and particularly in the area of alternative investments, which is such a strategic part of the Citi business these days. I think most people would say he’s a great asset.


FT: Do you think the departure of Todd Thomson was handled properly?


MS MULCAHY: I don’t really think that’s an appropriate topic for me to talk about in an interview, so I’m going to decline to answer that.


FT: What about the consolidations we’re seeing in the media? Do you think that Rupert Murdoch would make a good owner for Dow Jones?


MS MULCAHY: I’m a big believer that newspapers are more than just big profit machines, that there is a role to be thought about and I wouldn’t make a judgment call as to whether or not Rupert Murdoch’s going to be the answer to potentially any challenges Dow Jones has. But I think when you think about that business, you have to think as much about value and positioning and clearly independence...a different business model than other public companies and I’m a believer in that, that time will tell, but I think it’s more than just a traditional ROI kind of model these days.


FT: Thank you very much.


MS MULCAHY: You’re very welcome.


FT: And now we’ll do long/short, where I name people, companies and categories and will ask you, Miss Mulcahy, to say whether you’re long or short on them. Ready? Blackstone IPO?




FT: Warren Buffet?




FT: US equities?




FT: Hillary Clinton?




FT: Vikram Pandit?




FT: US dollar?




FT: Women CEOs?




FT: Mike Bloomberg?




FT: China?




FT: Rupert Murdoch?




FT: Thank you very much.




FT: That was Anne Mulcahy of Xerox on women in business. You can also hear her discussing private equity, the environment and Citigroup. Next week, Tom Renyi of the Bank of New York reviews the news on video for FT.com’s View from the Top.

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