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Young CEO turns around Bausch & Lomb

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in Leaders & Managers

For more than 150 years, Bausch & Lomb led eye health innovation.

But in recent years, the company began to stagnate. To shake things up, Bausch & Lomb hired Brent Saunders as CEO—who, at 41 years old, was among the nation’s youngest chiefs.

Beginning with his first day, Saunders recognized that actions speak volumes. Here’s how he walks the talk:

1. Break free of the corner office. On Saunders’ first day on the job, he didn’t head for the executive suite. Instead, he went straight to the Optics Center, where the majority of Rochester, N.Y.-based employees work.

“I wanted to show that I was not another corporate suit, but that I was focused on people at the working level, the products and on how we get things done,” Saunders says.

“Now we are in the process of moving the entire executive team and other employees located in the executive office tower to the Optics Center. This is the kind of action that builds a new culture and a ‘one team’ mentality.”

2. Flaunt the culture you want. Bausch & Lomb has begun an effort to change culture by lauding six High-Performance Behaviors, including “Earn Trust” and “Share Accountability.”

“Instilling a high-performance culture starts at the top,” says Saunders, “and so I lead by example and model these behaviors and other elements of our culture every day. In order to drive meaningful transformation, every one of us must lead by example.”

— Adapted from “41-Year-Old CEO Leading Turnaround at 158-Year-Old Bausch & Lomb,” The CEO Show.

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