David Pottruck - Former CEO, Charles Schwab

Company Culture

David Pottruck, Former CEO Charles Schwab

David Pottruck is the former CEO and President of Charles Schwab. David joined The Charles Schwab Corporation in 1984 as served as Executive Vice President of Marketing and led its innovative direct response advertising campaigns. He became Schwab’s President in 1992, co-CEO with Chuck Schwab in 1998, and CEO in 2002. David is currently the Co-Chairman of HighTower Advisors, a wealth management firm that he helped launch in 2008. He is also the Chairman of Red Eagle Ventures, an investment firm in San Francisco focused on privately held companies. He serves on the Board of Directors of Intel Corporation and, in addition, he is on the Board of Directors of several early-stage companies, including CorpU, a 21st-century corporate leadership development organization, where he is chairman.

Summary Notes on Company Culture

  • What is corporate culture?
    • Corporate culture is the mission, vison, and values of company
      • Values are the written and unwritten rules that guide employee behavior
      • Culture becomes the filter for deciding what kind of employees fit and don’t fit.
  • How can culture deteriorate?
    • Culture deteriorates when the company makes decisions that it doesn’t live up to
    • Dave provides the example of a false promise of strong customer service
  • Anecdote on the emotional element of culture
    • David discusses his experience leading Schwab  during the emergence of online brokers and managing Schwab employees during this transition period
  • Importance of people
    • Leadership has to be the magnet for talent
    • There will always be conflicts about strategies and choices, but a strong team will be able to resolve these issues and move forward