Business Transformation

The Light Reading Hall of Fame: The 2018 Inductees

Diane Greene, CEO, Google Cloud
Diane Greene wasn't even supposed to be in this industry, but it wouldn't be the industry it is now without her. She wanted to work on offshore oil rigs, but women weren't allowed to do that back in the 70s, so she went back to school to study computer science.

Greene and her husband, Mendel Rosenblum, founded VMware Inc. based on research he'd done on virtualization. VMware grew more than 100% every year she was there as CEO, from 1998-2004. The company was going to go public in 2003 but was instead acquired by EMC Corp. for $635 million.

In an interview with Greene last year, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said Greene's run at VMware was historic: "It's probably one of the most successful stories in the software industry, and I don't think there's been a more successful female CEO."

Now, as the leader of Google's fastest-growing business, Google Cloud, Greene is in a position to deliver the entire IT stack to the world's biggest companies. Greene transformed enterprise computing once before, and now she's the catalyst to do it all over again.

John Legere, CEO, T-Mobile USA
One measure of the people in Light Reading's Hall of Fame is how much stuff they've invented, created, started and originated. John Legere is being inducted because of all the stuff he's gotten rid of -- long-term cellular contracts, global roaming fees, data caps, absurd charges for watching Netflix on your mobile device -- we could go on and on. The bottom line is that Legere has saved T-Mobile's bottom line, in part, by not acting like a telecom CEO.

He takes questions from customers while he's jogging. He talks directly to customers on social media. He actually visits call centers in person and listens to customers. He shares his slow cooker recipes with customers and, we'll admit, they're pretty damn good.

Sure, with all of his magenta merchandise, he looks like a roadie for a touring children's band. But that desire to have a logo on every square inch of his person is another example of Legere doing what other CEOs won't do -- he goes all in on marketing. He believes in what T-Mobile is doing and literally wears it on his sleeve.

Now, Legere is going to try and persuade regulators to allow T-Mobile's nearly $26.5 billion acquisition of Sprint. They've stopped the deal before. But this time around, he's focusing on helping the US win the race in 5G technology and, by extension, ensuring that next wave of tech innovation happens in the good 'ol U S of A.

Once again, as he did with price wars, good customer service and mobile video use, Legere is leading the other phone companies by calling them out and making them uncomfortable. He wants the Sprint merger so he can win in 5G and make it affordable for customers. That doesn't sound like a big phone company CEO at all. That DOES sound like a man who belongs in the Light Reading Hall of Fame.

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