who Alfred Chuang
title CEO, BEA Systems, Inc.
home base San Jose, California

I’ve lived in San Francisco since the 1970s — this is my fourth recession in the Valley. But this is different. We’ve never had a bubble this big. We really went nuts.

My job as BEA’s CEO is to recalibrate the madness into reality. It is my responsibility to ask, “OK, what do we have to do to maintain the best conditions for our employees and shareholders?” The obvious first step is cost-trimming. The next step is communication. In a difficult economy, employees need to hear what we’re working on, what we want to leverage, and what management thinks about where we’re heading.

I’ve institutionalized an all-company Webcast every six to eight weeks to meet this need. Managers also walk around the office more often, talking to individuals, especially about their careers. We have been talking to them about longer-term trajectories. In the Bay Area, people have had career horizons of nine to 12 months, when it needs to be three to five years. I believe that if people can see where we’re going, if I can give them concrete metrics for where we want to head, then that will help us get through. — A.O.

ALFRED CHUANG is co-founder of BEA Systems Inc. and became president and CEO in October 2001.