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Transitioning out of the old and into the new sometimes disguises, or certainly buries, the underlying opportunities. So I think people who look at the superficial metrics and see perhaps what were declining revenues--now flat revenues--may not see the opportunities for growth that we see with the emerging trends that we're really chasing with our strategy and investment.
I think it takes a deeper look, and we're just going to continue to do what we are doing--and that is set expectations, meet them and deliver. We think these trends are going to emerge as a very powerful engine of growth and profitability.
CNET News.com interviewed Carol Bartz about two months ago before she stepped down as the Autodesk CEO. In that interview, she talked about a double standard when it came to selecting and judging female CEOs. First I want to ask, do you agree that there is a double standard? And second, do you expect to see substantially more female CEOs in the tech industry in the next five or 10 years?
Mulcahy: Well, the answer to the second part of that question will be, I certainly hope so. You know, there's no place to go but up because it's not a very well-represented area.
It would be a shameful, missed opportunity if there are not more women CEOs in the tech industry over the next five to 10 years.
And what about the double standard?
Mulcahy: I think there are lots of challenges that women have in the workplace, but I don't really sense a double standard as a CEO.
This is a job that you're put in with a very clear set of metrics every 90 days to judge your performance, like it or not. And I think that that is a standard when people are investing their money. I'm not sure that they're all that concerned about the gender of the CEO; I think they are interested in great returns.
What I do think is a challenge is that there is a disproportionate amount of visibility on women CEOs that sometimes can be helpful and sometimes can be hurtful. There's an unnatural amount of attention that doesn't necessarily help you do your job and focus on your priorities and create an even playing field in terms of the way you're judged.
I think that getting the job and keeping the job is all about performance, and I don't see that so much as a double standard. But I do think that the challenge of visibility is one that's really tough.
Your tenure at Xerox is so rare today. What has made you stay at the company for 30 years?
Mulcahy: You know, it is rare. But I've got to tell you, I think it's fabulous. I think it's gone out of vogue, and it's something that I'm really trying to restore at Xerox that when someone comes into the company that we have the intent to make it a lifelong partnership that's good for the employee, good for the company.
It may not work out, but I think there is a difference between beginning that relationship with an intent for it to be something that's meaningful over a long period of time, versus a check-mark experience. I mean, I've always hated when companies say that their job is to make you employable.
And for someone like me, I was able to raise my kids, have a life outside of work. Xerox was a partner, and I think it had a lot to do with why I'm able to be where I am today. This is a company that wanted to keep me and worked hard to make sure that I had the opportunities to develop. But I also had the space to be more than just an employee.
It's a big deal, and I think for people who want to make sure that their lives aren't 100 percent defined by work--that the idea of having a relationship and a partnership with a company over a long period of time often provides a road map that allows you to have...a great career and also have a life.
In your eyes, what are the most interesting or innovating consulting services that Xerox now offers?
Mulcahy: I think a lot of the work that we do in terms of our imaging services and our storage of information and retrieval services have become certainly renowned in terms of the technology and the capabilities that we're bringing to our customers.
The assessment services we bring to our customers in terms of really being able to get a more efficient infrastructure for output management are really unmatched in the marketplace. A lot of them are Six Sigma-based assessment services that give our customers the ability to reduce their (document-related) costs by 30 percent and really improve the overall efficiency of their infrastructure.
People tend to know what they spend on IT. They might even know what they spend on hardware, but the area of document management is really not well-understood, and it's a huge part of the cost that companies spend to really manage information--pretty conservatively, it's about 3 percent of revenue, so it's a big number. But because it's kind of a horizontal versus a functional spend, it's very difficult to get your arms around it.