“Mark, I’m giddy with excitement,” Jim Mazzo, CEO and chairman of Advanced Medical Optics, told me over the phone.
Jim is one of the most ethical and effective leaders I know. But even from such a remarkable man, his comment was astonishing because on that day in 2007, Jim’s company was in the midst of what most people would call a crisis. Without waiting to ask his board for permission, Jim had just ordered a voluntary recall of an eye solution as soon as he learned that it could contribute to serious corneal infections.
I’d called Jim to tell him how much I admired his action, which reminded me of James Burke’s quick pulling of Tylenol when several bottles were found to be contaminated with cyanide.
Jim replied, “We are a great company, with total transparency, a set of values, and a code of conduct that we all respect and follow. I am thrilled because I know that this is one of those rare opportunities that will make both our company and me even better and I am excited to find out just how it will do both."
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