CXO Conversation Podcast

CEO Ray Schiavone, Learning from Executive Mistakes & Perservence

Welcome to Part 2 of this discussion with CEO Ray Schiavone. During this episode, we dive into what drives CEO turnover, what working for PE-owned companies is like, where good ideas come from, and the importance of doing whatever it takes. Ray also shares a heap of tips for aspiring CEOs and current C-level professionals.



Ray Schiavone started his career at G.E., during the then-CEO Jack Welch’s tenure. He then moved on to act as a tech company CEO twice over and has since settled into running his own firm.


Ray is a graduate of Syracuse University and subsequently earned an MBA from the University of Maryland where he serves as a board member for the A. James Clark School of Engineering. He has been recognized for his accomplishments with numerous awards including the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.





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[1:50] Michael opens up Part 2 of this discussion with Ray Schiavone with a question on CEO departures.


KING-CEO [5:22] Ray speaks to working with larger-than-life people and what a company needs to build around such big personalities in order to foster the best out of their people and protect their assets.


SO YOUR FIRM’S BEEN BOUGHT? [8:51] Ray shares his experience with being bought out by a private equity firm, the first discussions he had with the new owners, the relationship before, during, and after the transaction as well as the factors that made them keep him onboard. Ray shares his advice for CEOs who may be going into this kind of situation and the type of work structure they can expect.


WHEN OUTCOMES DON’T MEET EXPECTATIONS [14:50] Admitting failure is the toughest part of life. Ray shares a professional story of failure.


LEARNING FROM JACK WELCH AND GE [17:16] Good ideas come from everywhere is what Ray remembers first, he gives a few examples and explains how he integrated what he learned from Jack into his own management style. He also speaks to the influence Jack had on corporate America.


[21:22] Ray unpacks the toolkit he inherited from GE and explains what he still uses and what he had to change.


MENTORSHIP [24:18] Ray gives tips on how to be mentored.


REWARDS, SURPRISES, AND CULTURE [26:27] Setting a company culture starts with leading by example; Ray also shares what surprised him about being in a leading position.


LEGACY [30:23] Learning and being a good human is the legacy Ray hopes he has. He shares the aspects he enjoyed the most and the least about being a CEO — they’re the same!


IS THE OLD STILL NEW? [33:11] Giving people the power to make decisions is something Ray saw at GE and still sees today. However, decentralization and the increase in remote work make it harder to stand out.


DIVERSITY [36:51] Corporate America still has a long way to go, but diversity has increased; Ray speaks to simple things that can be done to improve flexibility.


[39:30] Motivating younger generations is a challenge that Ray thinks can be tackled with empowerment, ownership, and flexibility; he details why.


MILITARY SPOUSE [40:48] Ray speaks to his wife having been on active duty in the Air Force and the challenges related to juggling two careers, a military commitment, a family, and multiple deployments and countries!


WORK HABITS [45:20] Ray breaks down his usual routine.


RAY’S ADVICE FOR HIS YOUNGER SELF [47:12] Don’t worry, it’ll all work out.


BEST WORST JOB RAY EVER HAD [48:37] Ray shares his experience working at a circus and what it taught him!


[52:47] Michael thanks Ray for coming on the podcast to share his insight and closes out the podcast with his favorite takeaways.


We hope you learned something today and enjoyed the conversation. Please give us five stars on iTunes and share your comments so we can improve and ask the questions you want to hear.



Book: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins

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Jalan Crossland for the music

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