John Anderson, CEO of Levi's, Emotional Intelligence


In order to become a great leader, it takes more than mere training and textbook knowledge. After all, if that were the case what would set any of today’s great managers apart from one another? The Hay group presents the thought that there is a third ingredient in this recipe to success – emotional intelligence – and that most great leaders possess this invaluable skill.

John Anderson, the present CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., is no different. Towards the culmination of 2006, Phil Marineau stepped down from the position, and was succeeded by Mr. Anderson. “”John has consistently delivered exceptional results in various leadership roles worldwide and has a tremendous following in the company,” Marineau said in a statement. “John is keenly aware of what it will take to continue to build our brands and businesses globally.”[1] The old and wise CEO has much faith in the 57-year-old veteran. The question is, however, does Anderson have faith in himself?

Before the then COO Anderson had the opportunity to be criticized, he implemented a plan to motivate the rest of the company and the rest of the clothing manufacturing. When he introduced the company’s “terms of engagement”, Levi’s cost of production went up 50 cents per pair of jeans, but Anderson knew that social responsibility was important, and so he stuck with the plan. Soon enough, the rest of the industry followed suit.

In a separate interview, Anderson was asked what he, personally, did to help the environment. Motioning to his jeans, he replied that he hasn’t washed them in weeks. His response was met with raucous laughter from the crowd. The fans were laughing with Anderson though. They were laughing because he was able to assess the situation, read what the crowd would have liked, give an honest answer, and still poke fun at the same time.

In conclusion, John Anderson is the type of CEO that often plays the role of the protagonist in many bedtime stories. Working for Levi’s under the regime of John Anderson is an employee’s dream come true. If I want to be a mindless droid, shop at Ikea, listen to whatever the news and society are telling me, then I can sleep well at night knowing that John Anderson will rally me, organize me, and steer me towards interdepartmental relationships.




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