The Chance to Tell a Story

Managing Editor Sean Conner discusses the making of the Ford feature and cover shoot, shares how the UFC story came together, and looks at the inspiring fight Lee Cheng is bringing to the patent trolls

Sean Conner, Managing Editor
Sean Conner, Managing Editor

The editorial team at Profile believes in one thing above all others: that every executive has a story. For most, it’s nothing grandiose—the words of a former boss or mentor, a moment at the end of a big project, the recognition of an unexpected career path. Yet these moments shape destinies, and every now and then those are grand indeed.

Such is the case with Neil Schloss, the man gracing this issue’s cover and star of “The Financial Fortitude of Neil Schloss.” A 30-year Ford man, Schloss had the fortune, good and bad, of facing the automotive industry crisis of 2008 head on. It was Schloss who boldly decided Ford Motor Company wouldn’t need to take a bailout from the government, and pushed the company to get creative with its finances. The result? Ford is back with record profits, and its Ford Focus is the world’s best-selling car. More importantly, Ford, a company that through the last few decades made most of its revenue off the success of its F-series pickup trucks, is learning what it means to be a car company again.

When Profile was given the opportunity to tell this story, we had a chance to do something special, to touch on not only what makes Schloss excel as an executive at one of the nation’s largest companies, but to give our readers a peek behind the curtain of what will be remembered as one of the last decade’s most noteworthy events. We decided to make sure everything, from the article itself to our cover to our final page (where we get up close to Schloss’s actual desk to see where historical decisions were made), reflected the impact Ford has on the American imagination.

Also in this issue, we take a look at what it means to be a technology executive. The story of such executives is a rapidly changing one. In recent years, IT budgets have swallowed greater shares of the budget, and CIOs have become indispensable members of the leadership team. But technology is allowing businesses to flourish in new ways. Just ask Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Christy King (“Live From the Octagon”). As the organization’s VP of digital and technology R&D, King faces change on a daily basis. But that doesn’t phase her as she works to establish new norms in broadcast sports for consumers demanding more formats and access than ever before.

Moreover, being a technology executive is no longer the sole provenance of the IT wizard. For proof of this, read the story of Lee Cheng (“When the patent trolls come knocking, Newegg calls in Lee Cheng”). Cheng has taken a firm stance with patent trolls: the Newegg general counsel never negotiates. In turn, he is setting a new legal precedent in the patent wars and has secured several major victories so far. And the best result is that other companies are taking up his example.

Finally, this issue of Profile brings several new improvements that we hope bring more focus to every executive featured within. New landing pages introduce the major sections of the magazine. We coupled these with a stronger color identity to create a uniform sense of place as you turn the pages. Though visual in nature, these enhancements drive Profile’s singular goal: to effectively capture all that it means to be a modern executive working in the United States today. So read a few stories and let us know what you learned.

Sean Conner