A furniture maker sent top managers on the hunt for thermometers. An airline CEO added flights as rivals kept schedules thin. A pharmaceuticals CEO led his team to create a vaccine. Two veteran executives launched a new streaming service, and closed it.
Here are 12 articles The Wall Street Journal published in 2020 about leaders of businesses big and small in the midst of crisis.
A Furniture Maker’s Five-Month Struggle With Covid. ‘You Can’t Really Have a Plan.’
To reopen after the spring lockdowns, the family that owns North Carolina’s Century Furniture had to manage frightened workers, volatile orders and more coronavirus outbreaks in its plants and markets.
Wegmans Pampered Its Shoppers. Now It Has to Protect Them.
Companies that used to indulge their customers are adjusting to an era when shoppers also pose dangers. Wegmans, a grocery-store chain that inspired a cult following, discovered how challenging that transformation could be.
Clorox’s New CEO Is Racing to Keep Wipes on Store Shelves
took the top job at
in September, becoming one of the youngest leaders of a Fortune 500 company. Her challenge: meeting coronavirus-fueled demand.
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell Has No Time for Hollywood Egos
The entertainment giant’s new chief wanted to shake up the company as quickly as possible, throwing out old conventions. The pandemic gave him license to do it.
Quibi Was Supposed to Revolutionize Hollywood. Here’s Why It Failed.
Investors poured $1.75 billion into the short-form video startup largely because they trusted the gut instincts and vision of its founder, movie mogul
and its CEO,
But the duo’s famed instincts proved wrong.
Can Gap Escape the Whirlwind? New CEO Confronts Years of Decline
The pandemic washed out many retailers that were already on shaky ground. To avoid that at
and revive the company’s namesake brand,
is plotting a future of fewer stores and more fashion risks.
‘Let’s Go Fly, for God’s Sake.’ Behind American Airlines Chief’s All-In Strategy
added flights back quickly this summer, despite a gathering coronavirus storm.
The Incredible Shrinking GM: Mary Barra Bets That Smaller Is Better
The CEO streamlined a company that for decades reigned as the world’s largest auto maker. Then, she readied for the next big bet: electric cars. The pandemic didn’t change that.
The Covid Crisis Taught David Farr the Power and Limits of Leadership
The CEO of Emerson Electric reveled in his firm control and belief in constant action. The pandemic rendered much of that experience irrelevant. And yet he never stopped moving. Pushing through a crisis was better in his mind than waiting to act.
Coronavirus Versus the Last Grocer in Town
owner of the only grocery store in Rich Square, N.C., had no corporate backstop when the pandemic hit. The local health department had little advice. He made decisions based on TV news, occasional emails from a grocers’ group and “what my heart tells me.”
How Pfizer Delivered a Covid Vaccine in Record Time: Crazy Deadlines, a Pushy CEO
The drugmaker and its partner cut the typical time to develop a vaccine from more than 10 years to less than one. That partly stems from their bet on new gene-based technology. It was also the product of demanding leadership, which bordered on the unreasonable.
Reopening the Restaurant Wasn’t the Quick Fix Its Owners Needed
Reopening after the spring lockdowns turned out to be more challenging for a Georgia restaurant owner than closing down in the first place.
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