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Big plans, small parts

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Don Flynn played a key role in two big success stories in recent business history, and had launched a third at the time of his death last year.

As chief financial officer at Waste Management, Flynn raised millions so that the company could acquire hundreds of little haulers and build itself into an empire.

He was one of three original investors in Blockbuster, which dominated video rentals before it was unloaded onto Viacom right before the Netflix tsunami.

But Flynn wanted a hat trick, and this time he wanted to do it on his own, so using the same playbook, he set out in the car-parts business, an industry with 6,000 tiny players.

When he died in 2011, his baby, LKQ, had $2.5 billion in sales and a market capitalization of more than $4 billion. The business buys about 200,000 junked cars every year, answering the question, “Do you have the part?”

— Adapted from “No Small Plans,” Jeff Bailey, Inc.

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