Ricardo Semler, 50, president of Semco, the Brazilian conglomerate - manufacturer and service provider - is internationally renowned as the creator of the world’s most unusual workplace. Semler’s management philosophy of empowering employees and looking at corporate structures in new ways is a serious challenge to the ingrained model of the corporate pyramid.
His book describing his management philosophy, TURNING THE TABLES, was on Brazil’s bestseller list for more than 200 weeks and saw 51 printings. His first article in Harvard Business Review, “Managing Without Managers,” provoked intense discussion among senior managers worldwide and is one of the most reprinted articles in the journal’s history (77,000). Harvard Business Review also published two other articles of his making him the journal’s most published Latin American author, and one of the most read.
TURNING THE TABLES was released in the United States as: MAVERICK: THE SUCCESS STORY BEHIND THE WORLD’S MOST UNUSUAL WORKPLACE, shaping American business dialogue as Semler described how he spurred his company to 900 percent growth in 10 years and increased Semco’s industry ranking from 56th to 4th in machinery and reaching # 1 positions in all of the service industries in which Semco is active. Semco went from 100 to many thousands of employees in the interim – and from US$ 10 million in business to hundreds of millions, as well as shareholding in various multi-billion dollar ventures begun by Semler.
MAVERICK has since been published in 33 languages, including Japanese and Chinese, and has sold more than 1.1 million copies. It reached bestseller status in the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Switzerland, Austria and Holland.
His new book, THE SEVEN DAY WEEKEND, is published by Penguin in the U.S. and by Random House in the UK, where it is a bestseller.
An influential leader, Semler has been profiled in more than 260 magazines and newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Fortune. He was also profiled in Time’s special edition, Time 100, which is published every 20 years to highlight future leaders around the globe. The World Economic Forum in Switzerland named him one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow.
He has appeared on television and radio on four continents and has lectured some 500 times to audiences around the world. The BBC included Semco in “Reengineering The Business,” a series focusing on the world’s five most successful management structures. In 2004, CNN, BBC and France’s M6 have sent crews for multi-day filming at the company.
Semler was twice named Brazil’s Business Leader of the Year, and America Economia (The Wall Street Journal’s Spanish language magazine) named him Latin American Businessman of the Year. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Semler speaks five languages fluently. He was vice president of the Federation of Industries of Brazil and a board member of the SOS Atlantic Forest, Brazil’s foremost environmental defense organization.
Stories, Hacks, & Barriers
Groundbreaking ideas and practices from Ricardo Semler