Charles Peter McColough (1922- )

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CEO and Chairman, XEROX Corporation

American Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of XEROX Corporation, C. Peter McColough joined the company in 1954 when it was still known as the Haloid Company and worked his way to the top.

McColough was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 1 August 1922 to Reginald W. McColough, a NS Deputy Minister of Public Works and Barbara Theresa (Martin) McColough. He served as an airman in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and, on his return, studied Law at Osgoode Law Scool in Toronto. He subsequently enrolled at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS where he received his LL.B. degree in 1947. Although he was admitted to the Canadian bar the same year, McColough enrolled in the Harvard Business School, earning an MBA in 1949.

McColough worked initially for Lehigh Navigation Coal Sales Company in the USA before making the switch to a little known manufacturer of industrial photocopiers. Five years after this career move, McColough's new firm introduced its first office photocopier. One of the first companies to step into such an lucrative arena and potential growth market, XEROX's annual revenues soared from $40 million in 1960 to almost $3 billion in the early 1970's.

After taking over the presidency of the firm in 1966, McColough significantly changed and altered the direction and goals of XEROX Corporation. The company's chief scientist told FORBES Magazine in 1980 that "in the late 1960's, Peter McColough redefined our company." By 1979, McColough had built up XEROX revenues to $7 billion a year and its annual earnings to $563 million. From 1970 through to the mid-1980's he has held several directorships and in 1970, was honoured by his former alma mater, Dalhousie, with an Honorary Doctorate.

The consensus of various business and economic journalists is that McColough as CEO was a restless, energetic but amiable man who had little time for memos, letters and meetings that normally make up the routine of daily corporate life. In 1956, McColough became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

McColough's philosophy was always one of strong leadership by example. He explained once to Business Week that "a company is made not only by the quality of its products and services, but also by its people, especially its top people," and in doing so revealed the key to his remarkable business career.

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