(Marcia Morphy)
Friday, May 3, 2013 - 8:05am

"Technology is one of the many factors that will influence leadership in this century."

-Bill McDermott, Co-CEO, SAP

Former Xerox corporate executive Emerson Fullwood remembers interviewing young Bill McDermott more than 30 years ago for an entry-level sales position in Manhattan.

"I was looking for outstanding talent to perform at a very high level," recalls Fullwood, executive in residence at Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology. "He came in at the end of a very busy day, was very professional and persistent, saying he had promised his father he would come home with a job and a badge. I did something I've never done before and broke the normal process; I hired him on the spot."

McDermott remembers meeting other college graduates vying for the position that day. "In the end, I just wanted it more than they did. That clarity of purpose-to always want it more-has never steered me wrong."

McDermott will renew his Xerox-Rochester ties as keynote speaker for the Executive Leaders Network luncheon hosted by RIT's Saunders College and sponsored by Toshiba Business Solutions. The networking luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8, at Genesee Valley Club, 421 East Ave.

McDermott worked for 17 years at Xerox and later joined SAP in 2002. SAP AG is the world leader in enterprise software and software-related services, from customer relationships to core management and operations. In 2010, McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe were appointed co-CEOs, with McDermott based in Newtown Square, Pa., and Snabe based at the company's headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.

SAP is driven by a focus on individual end-users, leading to a rapid acceleration in cloud computing and social collaboration.

"It's clear that we no longer live in a business-to-business world," explains McDermott. "It's now business-to-business-to-consumer. Technology is how organizations build intimate relationships with individuals. This is the essence of the next generation customer experience and it will fuel SAP's growth strategy."

Fullwood isn't surprised by McDermott's success. "Early on I realized that this person truly was a talent. I saw it in his eyes, his eagerness, his integrity, his infectious smile-he was first and foremost the best salesman I've ever met. People want to be a part of his team, a part of his organization, a part of a following that he developed through the years."

McDermott says technology will be one of many factors influencing future leaders. His advice is to "build a culture of trust, and never take for granted people's confidence in you to have a bold vision and a winning strategy."

The ELN luncheon event is not open to the public. For more information, contact Dana Pierce at 585-475-2199 or

Note: One of nine colleges at RIT, Saunders College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International) and enrolls more than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Saunders College and its entrepreneurial Venture Creations Incubator work in partnership with RIT's Albert J. Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship to integrate business education with RIT's world leading technical and creative programs. Graduate programs include Master of Business Administration, MBA-Accounting, Executive MBA and master's degrees in finance and administration.

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