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It's not a word that jumps to mind when cheap retro nba jerseys the topic is Tyco. Under Dennis Kozlowski, its former chairman and CEO, Tyco became a symbol of corporate greed. Kozlowski's $6,000 gold laced shower curtain, which hung in his corporate apartment, was a reminder of the excess.


Kozlowski, now on trial on charges of looting the company of more than $600 million, quit under pressure in June 2002. The next month, Ed Breen, then No. 2 at Motorola, was hired to succeed him.


It wasn't a soft landing. At the time, Tyco faced an epic liquidity crunch. It was on the hook to lenders for $11 billion due within seven months but had no way to pay. Rumors swirled of an impending bankruptcy. The stock price was tanking. And that was just his first day.


Two and a half years later, a lot has changed. "Tyco today is a normal company to run," Breen says. "If that's the right word."


Tyco's transformation, in many ways, is as shocking as that $6,000 shower curtain. In 30 months, Breen has managed to turn one of the nation's most notorious and mistrusted companies into a respected member of the business establishment without resorting to such financial tricks as reverse stock splits or back to back acquisitions to hoist the stock price. He also didn't dive for cover in the bankruptcy courts. People who have known Breen a long time say they aren't surprised.


"Ed was a damn near perfect fit for Tyco," says John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media.


Malone and Breen met in the 1980s. Breen was with General Instrument, the cable TV set top box maker now owned by Motorola. Malone was chairman of Tele Communications Inc., the cable TV operator. TCI, which was later acquired by AT was a top customer.


TCI was a big investor in GI, affording Malone a unique vantage point to watch Breen in action. What he saw, says Malone, was an executive with a gift for the subtleties of both business and people.


Breen, he points out, has broad experience in electronics and manufacturing two key areas of business for Tyco. He's also brutally honest with his investors and business partners. That's no small thing, Malone says, especially considering Tyco's tarnished reputation in the aftermath of Kozlowski.


"Eddie says it the way it is," Malone notes.


One of Breen's biggest contributions to Tyco, arguably, is fiscal prudence. Whereas Kozlowski lived large on a big budget, Breen's style leans toward sober and judicious. The plush Park Avenue headquarters is gone. So is the liquidity crisis. So are the million dollar birthday bashes, the eight digit bonuses for senior executives and the acquisition binge that pushed Tyco's debt load to the breaking point.


Gone, too, is the acquisition machine that once constituted Tyco's heartbeat. (Under Kozlowski, Tyco did more than 400 deals in five years.) So is the board that cheered Kozlowski along.


Changes for better


One measure of Tyco's renewed vigor is its cash flow. In 2002 when it was hanging on, Tyco had $28 billion in debt and anemic cash flow: just $779 million. That wasn't enough to fund operations, much less pay off Tyco's soon to be due Dt5FW6a9x $11 billion IOU note to lenders.


By the first anniversary of Breen's arrival, Tyco's cash flow had more than quadrupled, to $3.4 billion. In 2004, cash flow exceeded $5.4 billion. Current total debt: around $16 billion.


The stock price, meantime, has surged. At $35.25, it's still a long way from the mid $60s price it commanded under Kozlowski. But it's still a run up of more than 300% from the $8 that Tyco's shares traded for just before Breen walked in the door.


How'd he do it? Methodically, Breen says.


"It's like a boxing match," he says. "There are a thousand jabs, but no knockout blow. You just have to grudge it out every single day."


One of Breen's boldest moves came within 30 days of being hired: He fired the board that had presided over Tyco's fall under Kozlowski. It was an audacious step, especially considering that that same board had just hired him.


He also replaced more than 90% of his senior staff, including Mark Swartz, the chief financial officer. Swartz would later be charged with looting Tyco along with Kozlowski. (He's now being retried simultaneously with Kozlowski.)


Jim Andrew of Adventis, a Boston based consultancy, credits Breen with moving quickly and decisively to shake off the taint of the Kozlowski era.


"You can't do much better," Andrew says. "Breen's done a wonderful job, no question."


Breen's pragmatic approach to business has been a lifetime in the making. He joined General Instrument in 1978 right out of college, and rose fast. By age 32, he was running GI's worldwide sales. In 1996, at age 40, he became CEO.


As CEO, Breen found himself doing business with such media stars as John Malone and buy out artists such as Teddy Forstmann of Forstmann Little. Breen counts both men as role models.


In 1999, Breen, with a behind the scenes assist from Malone, sold GI to Motorola for $11 billion. The deal, which closed in 2000, made Breen a multimillionaire. Breen agreed to join Motorola to help with the integration. He wound up staying, and in 2002, cheap nfl authentic jerseys he became president wholesale jerseys free shipping and chief operating officer under CEO Chris Galvin.


By then, Motorola was struggling amid a sharp downturn in the technology sector. Motorola's stock was crashing. Breen had ideas for making big moves.


At one memorable board meeting, Breen told startled directors that he thought the company should slash its worldwide payroll by 60,000. Motorola had only 150,000 employees. After much debate, Motorola took his advice.


By early 2002, with Motorola's fortunes sliding, rumors were flying that Breen would soon succeed Galvin as CEO. Galvin, who was about the same age as Breen, didn't want to step aside.


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