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Bill Roper: Resilient podcast

Life in (and out of) crisis

Bill Roper spoke with Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory’s Mike Kearney about stepping into the role of CEO at Verisign in 2007 in the midst of stock option backdating allegations. Faced with addressing short-term issues related to the investigation, Verisign framed the crisis with an eye on the long game as well: helping the company restructure and better position itself for the future.

Life in (and out of) crisis

Bill Roper, former Verisign CEO, on life in (and out of) crisis

Bill Roper spoke with Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory’s Mike Kearney about stepping into the role of CEO at Verisign in 2007 in the midst of stock option backdating allegations. Faced with addressing short-term issues related to the investigation, Verisign framed the crisis with an eye to the long game as well: helping the company restructure and better position itself for the future.

Nobody chooses a crisis as a change agent. But sometimes a crisis chooses you.

In addition to reframing the crisis, Bill discussed the keys to navigating a crisis:

  • Having the right leader
  • Finding the right team members who can perform effectively in a critical situation—and finding them quickly
  • Focusing on communicating honestly, clearly, and frequently to both internal and external constituents
  • Following through with actions, and doing what you said you would do

Another key? Diversity, in both the board and the management team. “Understand what your weaknesses are and make sure the people around you are strong where you’re weak. That’s especially important in a crisis,” Bill said.

And it’s important to realize that good things can result from a crisis. At Verisign, “a very healthy, very focused, very profitable, quickly growing company came out of the former company that was slow-moving and erratic on revenues and profits,” Bill said. "If you manage it right, a crisis can help you choose priorities and force you to make critical decisions quicker."

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Related article

Bill Roper, in a Wall Street Journal article, speaks about stepping into the role of CEO at Verisign.

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Resilient is an award-winning podcast series that features authentic, engaging, and thought-provoking conversations with leaders. Hear interviews and personal stories about how CEOs, senior executives, government officials, board members, and people outside of the business world embrace complexity to lead, navigate, and disrupt to accelerate performance. And discover what they learned about resilience amid risk, crisis, and disruption.

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