Please join the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at breakfast on Wednesday, December 11, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for the next meeting of the Corporate Strategy Forum, which aims to open the aperture of strategic thinking with a discussion on what we're calling"Near-Death and Transformation."
User-added image

The Forum convenes chief strategists of transatlantic companies in aerospace, defense, security, and government services for a private roundtable discussion about issues confronting the long-term health of these industries. Meeting again in the Boardroom of the Atlantic Council's new offices, we will welcome participants at 7:30 a.m., begin the discussion (with a plated breakfast) promptly at 8:00 a.m., and conclude at 9:30 a.m.

Several years ago, I heard an IBM executive tell an audience of A&D industry executives the story of that company’s strategic transformation in response to its near-death in the early-1990s. At the time, the story fell a little flat, no doubt because the sharp inflection in customer preferences and competition that was the impetus for IBM's coming-to-grips had scant resonance in a room full of executives enjoying a US defense budget still rising toward its historic peak. Now, three years past that peak, the profound change that was invoked to pull IBM back from the brink is not something even today's sequestration-shocked defense companies seem ready to embrace. And yet, perhaps more should, because the market-inflection may prove deeper and wider than currently envisioned, but also as a check on this industry’s characteristically cramped repertoire of corporate-strategic initiative.

The meeting will feature two distinguished speakers to provoke and inform our conversation:

Michael Bayer is the president and chief executive officer of Dumbarton Strategies LLC, an energy and national security consulting firm. He is the former chairman of the US Department of Defense's Business Board and also serves as a member of the Sandia National Laboratory's National Security Advisory Panel, the Defense Science Board, and the CNO Executive Panel. He has been a director of several defense and government-services companies and currently serves on the board of Siga Technologies. Michael's comments will summarize his analysis of the current market for US defense, in which he envisions not just an inflection but an abyss.

Mike Giersch is vice president of strategic planning at IBM, where he manages the company’s corporate strategic planning process. A forty-year veteran of IBM, Mike previously held marketing, operations, and strategy positions in IBM’s international operations and sales management positions in its U.S. domestic operation. Mike’s presentation will tell the story of IBM’s near-death experience in the early-days of the personal-computing revolution, and its case-study transformation under former CEO Lou Gerstner.


If you have any questions, dietary restrictions, or would like to recommend someone from your organization to attend in your place, please call or send a message to the Scowcroft Center's program assistant, Alex Ward.

When you arrive, please use the West Tower elevators