Business Leaders: EMC’s Joseph M. Tucci

Name: Joseph M. Tucci Born: 1947Company: EMC CorporationPosition: Chairman, CEO and PresidentPrevious role: Chairman and CEO of Wang Global Education: BS from Manhattan College, MS from Columbia UniversityQuote: "We are well positioned because the IT industry emerges in waves. These waves tend to be tremendously opportunistic. I've got to make sure that we take advantage of the next wave."

Around the time Joseph Tucci became CEO of EMC, a provider of computer storage hardware solutions, the organization suffered massive financial loss. Through restructuring, he managed to breath new life into the company and transform it back into a thriving, profitable company.

Raised throughout the New York City metropolitan area, Tucci wanted to go to Florida for college to play baseball but a family friend steered him toward Manhattan College. He was in ROTC and wanted to join the Air Force for Vietnam but could not because of a sarcoidosis diagnosis.

He graduated in 1969 with a business degree, worked briefly on Wall Street, quit and took a job as a beach lifeguard. Shortly after, he took an IT job with RCA. After several years as a systems engineer and systems programmer, he transitioned into sales.

During this time, the Univac division of Sperry bought RCA. This became Sperry Univac, before becoming simply Sperry once more. The vice president, Grady Putnam took Tucci under his wing. Tucci recalled, "I probably owe more of my career and success to him than any other person." Putnam thought that in order for Tucci to excel he needed to be well-rounded and believed that graduate school would provide this. Consequently, Tucci enrolled in Columbia's two-year MBA program.

Tucci eventually oversaw the majority of Sperry's U.S. sales and service organization. Although Tucci was initially skeptical, Sperry ultimately merged with Burroughs to create Unisys. This turned out to benefit Tucci because he essentially did the same job just for a company that was double the size.

Tucci was president of Unisys' U.S. Operations, when Wang Global contacted him looking for an executive vice president of worldwide operations. He became chairman and CEO of the company, which was a change and learning experience since he had only focused on North American operations previously. Tucci guided Wang from Chapter 11 bankruptcy to renewed success as a network technology services and solutions company. During the late-1990s, Wang led the acquisition and integration of ten companies, tripling Wang's market capitalization.

EMC's Dick Egan phoned Tucci to offer him a spot as board member of EMC. He was introduced to the CEO Mike Ruettgers. After a few weeks, Egan contacted Tucci again,  recanted their offer of board-membership and proposed that Tucci become president and COO, with the possibility of becoming CEO if all went well.

Tucci said, "There were no guarantees, but if I worked out as President and COO it [becoming CEO] was kind of mine to lose, let's put it that way." Getronics N.V. acquired Wang in 1999.

Shortly after Tucci joined EMC in 2000, the internet bubble burst. In his first year, the company earned $1.7 billion. In his second, it lost $500 million. During this tumultuous period, Tucci became CEO. Tucci responded to this loss with massive restructuring and investment is research and development. Since this time, he led EMC to invest $14 billion strategically, expanding the company's portfolio into new markets.

He also expanded EMC's reach into new areas of business, such as multi-platform software businesses and distribution channels. Tucci was instrumental in recruiting talented executives from top technology companies to bolster EMC's management. He pushed for EMC to use the Six Sigma business management strategy and focused intensely on the Total Customer Experience.

In 2011, EMC generated around $20 billion in sales, thanks to the revitalization Tucci oversaw. That same year, Barron's declared Tucci one of the worlds best CEOs.

According to the Form 14A proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tucci's total compensation was $3.1 million. This amount was comprised of his $1 million base salary and $2.1 million cash bonus.

He is also chairman of VMware Corporation's board of directors.