A Tale of Two Turnarounds at EDS: The Jordan Rules

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The case briefly describes the history of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) under Ross Perot and GM before turning to the beginning of a tumultuous decade in the late 1990s. As the turn of the century approached, EDS made critical strategic missteps such as missing opportunities in the Internet space, overlooking the onset of client-server computing, and failing to obtain major Y2K-related projects. The company attempted a turnaround by replacing the CEO with Dick Brown, whose leadership helped streamline the sprawling company. Despite initial successes, Brown's tenure ultimately ended in failure, due largely to his failure to recognize the growing Indian market and his willingness to buy business at the expense of the company's margin. The disastrous multibillion-dollar Navy & Marine Corp Intranet contract typified the type of high-profile transactions that Brown pursued, often boosting EDS's stock price in the short term while eroding its cash flow short term and its profitability over the long term. EDS management went through several stages of the turnaround process: the blinded phase, the inactive phase, and the faulty action phase, until Michael Jordan replaced Brown as CEO and enacted a three-tiered operational, strategic, and financial turnaround.

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