special report In a series of CNETAsia profiles, top tech executives talk about how they manage in a down market. Dell's secret: Have faith in people.
Setting new dimensions at Dell
By Fran Foo
As Dell Computer's Senior Vice President and President for Asia-Pacific and Japan, Amelio learned early in his career that there's no substitute for passion.
"I believe in gaining and maintaining the confidence and trust in the people I work with," he said in an interview with CNETAsia.
Currently based in Singapore, Amelio holds joint responsibility with Chip Saunders for Dell's operations across the region, including its manufacturing facilities and customer service centers in Penang, Malaysia and Xiamen, China.
Amelio became part of the Dell family in March 2001 after serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer at NCR's retail and financial group.
Prior to NCR, he led the turbocharging systems business at AlliedSignal before becoming president and CEO of Honeywell International's transportation and power systems divisions. He also spent 18 years in IBM in various senior management positions, including the general manager of operations for IBM's PC business.
Despite successfully climbing the corporate ladder, this IT veteran hasn't forgotten his roots. He talked to CNETAsia about the lessons learned from his shoe repairman father, and the influence his mother had on his life.
Q: Why did you choose a career in information technology?
What do you like and hate most about your job?
The complexity and diversity of the region certainly adds to the challenge but it has also helped adapt my working style. If there's anything I hated about the job, I wouldn't be here.
What was the most challenging moment or event in your entire career?
Describe your first manager and the lessons learned, if any.
Two key things stood out: making sure the team's focus remains on the bottom line while working diligently to grow the topline. This is the way to effectively impact P&L (profit and loss); and the other important lesson was about people--bet on people rather than strategy.
Describe your management style.
Feedback is a great gift and works both ways. I believe in being direct with my team on areas they've done well and where they need to work on. Similarly, I respect their feedback, especially those who've been honest with me.
What technologies disappoint you? Why?
What is your vision of technology in 10 years?
Name one person who has inspired you the most as a person. Why?
My father, and I'm glad to still have him around, has always been a hero, pointing me in the right direction. As a shoe repairman, he taught me early in life about how important it was to deliver value to customers, to make sure we give the best quality products and to respect them. These are values I continue to hold today.
CNETAsia's Irene Tham contributed to this report.