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Turning Around LeapFrog: CEO Jeff Katz (Part 11)

Posted on Sunday, Dec 2nd 2007

SM: Let’s say in 5 years you are cleaned up and you have achieved a level of credibility and stability and market power to do interesting things. How do you see yourself leveraging that brand. What are the top three things you would do?

JK: I think the main thing we want to do first is be more substantial and meaningful outside of the US than we are today. We want to have a closer link to consumers. We know what the kids need, and we need to somehow be more responsive and facilitative to that. We all imagine a link between home and school that we can participate with. That is a bit of a dream at this stage. We are doing so much that is closed. We have our web connected products, and we can allow teachers, kids and parents to product content that will work with our framework.

I would say that broadly speaking we would like broader channels of distribution. Today, in the world, you have WalMart, Target and Toys R Us. That is not all, but it is 75% of our channels of distributions. The broader we can make that, the better. Amazon is my favorite example at the moment. They are the best marketer in retail today by far. From my standpoint the more they grow the better off we are because we have more sizeable channels to get the product into. International does that as well. It gives more flexibility to diversify. When you have a very small set of distributors they tend to be like each other. You do not get great creativity from them. The airline business is very similar by the way. Those would be some ideas for the dream.

SM: You are going to be around to execute on that?

JK: I am but a servant of the board of directors. I think my purpose is really to get the company to thrive again. That is going to take a while. I think if we hit a grand slam, it is three years. If we do a really good job that is 5 years. A big part of my whole point is to build a strong team at the same time so I am not dependent on one super duper person on the team nor is anyone solely dependent on me. That makes a healthier company. One of the things I am most happy about Orbitz is there are really strong players everywhere and it has served the company well. Even with the third or fourth ownership, there is yet another Orbitz person there running the company who started in its earlier days.

SM: Very interesting interview. Thank you, Jeff and good luck.

This segment is part 11 in the series : Turning Around LeapFrog: CEO Jeff Katz
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