Business Leaders as Catalysts for Change  

17 December 2018:

Innovation and leadership have always been closely linked. For example, when Milwaukee inventor Warren Johnson developed the first electric thermostat in 1885, it led to the development of Johnson Controls, a company that has gone on to have a steady track record of innovation. George Oliver, CEO of the company since the fall of 2017, has become a leading proponent of agile business innovation, and a guide to the technological and social crosscurrents facing industrial companies.

Oliver is a veteran of three well-known organizations. Trained as a mechanical engineer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, he came up through the leadership ranks during a 23-year career at General Electric. He held key leadership roles in aircraft engines, appliances, and water and process technologies, and worked closely with then-CEO Jack Welch and the other influential leaders of GE during that period. He then joined Tyco, the world’s largest fire protection and security company, in 2006 as president of its safety products division, expanded his responsibilities with electrical metal products in 2007 and fire protection in 2010, and became CEO in 2012.

In 2016, Tyco and Johnson Controls merged; the following year, Oliver was named chairman and CEO of the combined company. He assumed control as the company was in the midst of change, shedding much of its legacy in automotive seating and interiors to focus on advanced automotive batteries and technologies for buildings, particularly “smart” structures that integrate cooling, heating, safety, and security systems.

Oliver sat down with strategy+business in Johnson Control’s North American headquarters in Milwaukee to talk about the trends facing industrial companies today, the changing nature of digital technology, its implications for strategy, and the ways in which the building industry can influence others.

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Source: Stategy Business

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