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CEO of the Week: Richard D. Fairbank Capital One Financial Corp.

Before Richard D. Fairbank founded what was to be Capital One Corp., he and fellow consultant Nigel W. Morris in the late 1980s devised a plan to revolutionize the credit card industry by developing a “more integrated and scientific approach” to marketing bank cards.

“Fairbank and Morris’s plan would allow companies to fine-tune card product and pricing strategies for individual customers through a decision-making structure blending together marketing, credit, risk, operations and technology functions,” writes Funding Universe.

After getting rejections by more than 20 national retail banks, the pair found a willing partner in Richmond, Virginia-based Signet Bank, which in 1988 launched a new credit card division headed by the two. Business proved to be quite profitable — particularly with Fairbank and Morris’ then-novel idea of balance transfer offers using teaser rates.

In 1994, Signet spun off the division into a new company, Oakstone Financial Corp. After an initial public offering, Fairbank was named chairman and CEO of the company, which was renamed Capital One Corp.

Flash forward to today, and the McLean, Virginia-based company also has a traditional bank with brick-and-mortar branches, and is the country’s fifth-largest consumer bank and eighth-largest bank overall, according to its website.

“Since the founding of the company, Mr. Fairbank has been responsible for overseeing both the company’s strategic direction as well as management of Capital One’s day-to-day operations, and has driven strong organic business growth and executed a series of strategic acquisitions across retail and direct banking, credit cards, auto lending and technology,” the company writes.

Fairbank is regarded as an executive who is “at the top of his game,” according to Money Inc.

“Fairbank didn’t always make the right decisions in the early days of the business,” Money Inc. writes. “Although he’s one of the wisest entrepreneurs in the world, he had to learn just like everyone else does. He took a misstep with a few different ventures, but he managed to land on his feet and learn from the errors.”

Money Inc. also writes about Fairbank’s charitable work and his hands-on approach to raising eight children, calling him “among the most well-rounded individuals on the planet.”

“His love and dedication for family, ethics in business, and passion for helping others places him up there with the level of a Saint,” Money Inc.writes. “While nobody is perfect, he sets a good example of how well life can turn out when you work hard, stop to enjoy the good things in life, and persevere.”

Headquarters: McLean, Virginia

Age: 69

Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics, Stanford University; MBA, Stanford Graduate School of Business

First joined company: 1994

Prior to joining Capital One: head of predecessor, Signet Bank’s credit card division

Named CEO: 1994

Fairbank is No. 101 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies


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CEO of the Week: Olivier Le Peuch of Schlumberger

On the job for less than six months, Schlumberger Ltd.’s new CEO Olivier Le Peuch is leading the world’s largest oilfield services company to surpass Wall Street’s expectations.

For the fourth quarter, the Houston-based company beat Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second time in a row – earning 39 cents a share adjusted for non-recurring items, compared to the analysts’ consensus of 37 cents, according to Yahoo Finance. For the third quarter, Schlumberger beat the consensus estimate by 2 pennies.

As for revenues, company has topped consensus revenue estimates four times over the last four quarters. For the fourth quarter, Schlumberger posted revenues of $8.23 billion, compared to revenues of $8.18 billion for the fourth quarter of 2018.

“I would like to say how proud I am of the Schlumberger team’s performance throughout 2019,” Le Peuch said in the company’s earnings call.

“The progress we made in operational execution in a challenging year has been outstanding,” he said. “During the last six months, we set new benchmarks for safety and much improved our service quality performance. Execution matters greatly to our customers and is the foundation of our performance vision. I feel privileged to lead such a high-performing team.”

Schlumberger is the world’s leading provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing to the oil and gas industry, according to the company’s website. With product sales and services in more than 120 countries and employing approximately 100,000 people who represent over 140 nationalities, Schlumberger supplies the industry’s “most comprehensive range” of products and services, from exploration through production, and integrated pore-to-pipeline solutions that optimize hydrocarbon recovery to deliver reservoir performance.

Le Peuch assumed the top post in August after longtime CEO Paal Kibsgaard retired.

“Olivier possesses the company’s values, an in-depth knowledge of our business, and a proven industry track record—all together, he is ideally suited to lead Schlumberger into the next chapter of our history,” Kibsgaard said in the company’s July announcement of Le Peuch’s appointment.

In his 32 years with Schlumberger, Le Peuch has held a variety of global management positions. Prior to his current position, he served as the company’s chief operating officer. Le Peuch previously held various global management roles, including executive vice president of reservoir and infrastructure; president of the Cameron Group; president of Schlumberger Completions; vice president of engineering, manufacturing and sustaining; and president of Software Integrated Solutions.

In addition, Le Peuch held a number of leadership roles, including management of technology development in both Europe and the United States. He joined Schlumberger in 1987 as an electrical engineer and spent his early career in custom software integration and development and in high-temperature electronics development for wireline equipment.

He’s No. 97 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies

Headquarters: Houston

Age: 56

Education: Bordeaux Engineering School; Bordeaux University of Science

First joined company: 1987

Prior to joining Schlumberger: N/A

Named CEO: 2018


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CEO of the Week: Christopher M. Crane of Exelon

Christopher M. Crane is president and CEO of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., an energy provider that does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Its family of companies include Exelon Generation, one of the largest U.S. power generators, with more than 32,700 megawatts of owned capacity; Constellation, which provides energy products and services to roughly 2 million residential, public sector and business customers; and Exelon’s six utilities, which deliver electricity and natural gas to roughly 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through its Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco subsidiaries.

Crain takes a “holistic approach” to management, according to Money. “Many top executives develop tunnel vision,” Money writes. “It’s common because of the overwhelming amount of issues that they must deal with on a day to day basis. Chris Crain doesn’t get bogged down with these.”

“He maintains a holistic approach to conducting business that demonstrates a commitment to safety, regulation of the workforce, observing best financial practices and maintaining operational practices that are on the cutting edge of the industry,” Money writes. “He multi-tasks well with an even distribution of priorities.”

Crane also believes in energy conservation, and says that control of energy consumption will be key over the next decade, according to Money.

In September, the Exelon Foundation and Exelon Corp. launched a new $20 million Climate Change Investment Initiative (2c2i) to cultivate startups working on new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

The Exelon Foundation will contribute $10 million over the next 10 years to fund the initiative, which will focus on clean energy and environmental technologies with potential for wide-scale commercialization. Exelon Corp. will match that grant with up to a $10 million in-kind investment of pro-bono services, including mentoring entrepreneurs on ways to access other sources of capital, structure business plans, allocate financial resources and meet regulatory requirements.

The start-ups also will be able to tap the company’s internal innovation programs – Exelorate Growth, Constellation Technology Ventures and Partnership R&D – for counsel.

“Exelon stands with the majority of our customers who want cleaner air and affordable, reliable energy,” Crane said in the announcement. “With recent advances in technology, these are no longer mutually exclusive objectives. The Exelon Foundation Climate Change Investment Initiative will put us a step closer to a clean energy future by helping entrepreneurs translate their ideas for reversing climate change into practical solutions.”

For more than three decades, Crane has worked in the nuclear industry in progressively more responsible positions. In 2012 he was named CEO of Exelon Corp., previously serving as the company’s president and COO. Crane joined Exelon (then ComEd) in 1998, and was named chief nuclear officer in 2004.

“He was a key player in the dramatic turnaround of ComEd nuclear performance, and the development of Exelon’s proprietary Nuclear Management Model, a codification of industry-leading operational, safety, management, regulatory, workforce and financial practices,” the company writes in his bio. “The model is the key to Exelon Nuclear’s sustained excellence in production, cost and overall effectiveness.”

Crane assumed responsibility for Exelon’s fossil, hydro and renewables facilities, in addition to the nuclear fleet, in 2007.

“He oversaw a broad range of generation and business development initiatives, including new nuclear development, nuclear operating services, development of the nation’s largest urban solar project, innovative decommissioning strategies and asset optimization,” the company writes. “He was instrumental in establishing corporate citizenship and public outreach as a plant priority.”

Crane was named president of Exelon Generation in 2008, with added responsibility for Power Team, Exelon’s former wholesale power trading and competitive retail organization (now part of Constellation).

Prior to joining Exelon, Crane served as Browns Ferry site vice president for Tennessee Valley Authority, and worked in new plant start-up at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Texas and Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona.

He’s No. 91 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies

Headquarters: Chicago

Age: 59

Education: New Hampshire Technical College, BA; Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program

First joined company (then ComEd):  1998

Prior to joining ComEd: Vice President at Tennessee Valley Authority

Named CEO: 2012