Interview with Scott McNealy II

Life and the Universe

Exclusive The Register asked Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun, at Cebit about Sun and his own job. THE REGISTER: How do you read the industry tea leaves at the moment, from a Sun perspective? McNEALY: There are so many mitigating factors. Asia is getting stronger, people are buying up nothing in front of the Y2K problem. Everybody on the planet after the last Christmas season wants to "dot com" their business: every retailer needs to be online, so we see a big run up there. Our competitors are not executing very well, so that's a mitigating factor. HP is spinning off this, that and the other thing, trying to figure out who should be CEO. IBM is a global services business and a components business – not a computer business anymore. SGI is gaining speed and losing altitude – they aren't executing like they should be – that helps us. But there are some companies who are saying we're going to slow down in the December quarter. I tell everybody to buy now because if Asia is in deep trouble and they can't supply us with components, we won't be able to ship computers after the New Year, so buy now. But that's a little self-serving: you see, I was elected by the shareholders. THE REGISTER: Doesn't it create some executive stress with these three jobs you have: President, CEO, Chairman ... McNEALY: ... and Founder. If you get there early, you get a lot of good titles. Actually we restructured about a year ago. I have an executive committee made up of myself plus a chief operating officer, a chief financial officer who handles all the infrastructure, a chief strategy officer who handles corporate development, mergers and acquisitions, and then I have the chief technology officer, Bill Joy, who helps me oversee the technical arena. I've got a pretty strong team and then below that we've got the business unit presidents and all the rest. I'm bleary-eyed. ®

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