John Ferguson, President and CEO
Yes, other people's mistakes can be a source of profit. John Ferguson
knows this. He's the CEO of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA),
the world's largest builder and operator of privately run prisons.
Ferguson's main role is to keep the company's shareholders happy.
He's been doing a pretty good job. When the former state treasurer
of Tennessee took the company helm in August 2000, CCA had a billion-dollar
debt. Shareholders were hopping mad. Today CCA is back in the black.
Ferguson saved the day.
How did he do it? By restructuring the company, introducing new
management and selling assets. CCA claims to build and manage prisons
more cheaply than state governments. That's enticing to many ambitious
state politicians looking to trim their budgets. They hire CCA.
Ferguson, who got his business start as an IBM salesman and then
prospered in the banking industry, keeps his eyes closely on the
But how will he like donning a prison guard's uniform for the first
time ever and doing a week's work at one of his institutions? The
other guards, and even the inmates, can't wait to find out.
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