Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility Explains the Importance of Corporate Culture

On The CEO TV Show with Robert Reiss this week, Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, explained the importance of corporate culture particularly concerning the merger between AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless’ merger. I asked Ralph how important corporate culture was in the merger.

“Corporate culture is extremely important,” De la Vega explained.”It defines the company. It sets the moral compass of the organization to help the employees know what is acceptable and not within that company.”

What is the role of the leader in this?

“The role of the leader is to help people understand how to overcome obstacles and take the business to the next level. The leader must embody the corporate culture so his employees have confidence that those obstacles can be overcome.” de la Vega explained to me.

What was a big example for him personally where culture played a significant role?

“When we merged AT&T Wireless with Cingular Wireless in 2004, we had only 19 days after the FCC made its decision to accomplish it. This was a $41 billion merger, the largest up to that time and roughly 60,000 employees. None of the analysts thought this would be possible without losing a lot of customers. The cultures of the two companies, too, were different. So we got all of the senior executives into a meeting to determine what the guiding principles and corporate culture would be after the merger, that is, of the new company. When we all got aligned on what these things would be, we went out and complete the merger beyond anyone’s wildest of dreams. We actually surpassed by far the best case scenario of the analysts and added more customers in the next quarter than ever!”

To find out more about the importance of corporate culture from Ralph de la Vega, see our video interview.

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About the Author: Robert Reiss

Robert Reiss is Host of The CEO Show, which features leaders who have reinvented industry through exceptional customer experience models. The show is nationally syndicated by Business TalkRadio Network. Click to hear podcasts of this and oth…

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