CEO, AMB Industries Incorporated
Corporate Headquarters: New York City
Primary Business: Facility Services
Revenues: $3.5 billion
Employees: Nearly 100,000
2011 CEO in Action
Founded in 1909, ABM is a leading provider of facility services, offering engineering, energy efficiency, commercial cleaning and maintenance, parking and security. We employ nearly 100,000 people. I recently reached my 10th year as CEO of this historic company. I marked the anniversary in unique fashion, appearing on CBS’s Undercover Boss. As you may know, the popular reality television program features company executives going incognito and working alongside their frontline employees.
While my “success” on the frontlines underscored why I am best suited for my day job, I was enormously proud to witness firsthand these employees’ outstanding skills, clear dedication and client focus. My experience uncovered for millions why they are the backbone of ABM and the true stars of this Company. There was another telling aspect. While we had no role in selecting the featured employees, look at their profiles: Peter, a Chicago window cleaner, is Polish. Maria is an Albanian foreperson in New York. Kenny, Tampa shuttle driver, is a native of Puerto Rico. Larry, an African American freight operator, is a New Yorker. I, by the way, am a native of Denmark.
“Diversity in all of its dimensions is a competitive advantage for ABM.”
Undercover Boss revealed ABM’s rich diversity. Our workforce speaks languages ranging from Cantonese and Somalian to Russian to Spanish and Indonesian – and collectively reflects all of the world’s spiritual beliefs. We live and work in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and elsewhere. Of nearly 100,000 employees, 75 percent are people of color.
The context is more compelling: 100+ years in business. $3.5 billion in sales. Thousands of clients. Fortune 500 Company. Diversity is working. Our enduring success is directly related to the diversity of our employees, and the richness and depth of their talent. Diversity in all of its dimensions is a competitive advantage for ABM.
We recognize that rich diversity is an integral part of the company’s past, present and future success. The twin goals of diversity and inclusion require commitment and continued focus. Moving forward, our path will concentrate on leveraging and maximizing our employees’ rich skills and talents and furthering the cultural breadth of our organization to promote more diversity into every level of the managerial ranks. We have the foundation. We will build on it – driven by ABM’s core values of respect, fairness and dignity.
Education: MBA (equivalent), University of Copenhagen
First Job: Summer Landscaping (age 14)
What I’m Reading: The Man from Bejing, by Henning Mankell
My Philosophy: Follow your vision.
Best Advice: Take pride in whatever you do.
Family: Married with three children
Interests: Family, golf, soccer, bridge, fishing