My first significant interaction with Edgar Masri was at an offsite with other managers. We called it the “Billion Dollar Managers” offsite,, and it included discovering our Myers Briggs personality styles and how we interact with the world. Edgar’s personality was easy to pinpoint as a gregarious, strong thinker/extrovert, and though his outgoing style could be considered controversial to some of the more quiet and introverted engineers, we somehow all got along. During the 1990s, Edgar’s successes at 3Com eventually led him to run the Premises Distribution Division (3Com’s hubs, stackables, and the like). And in 2006, Edgar was appointed CEO.
Edgar shared that growing up in Lebanon gave him the street skills needed to deal with the politics of that position. When Eric picked him as his replacement in 2006, Edgar recalled the ensuing conversation. Eric told him, “Edgar, I believe we need to buy [the remaining 49%] of [the H3C] joint venture and then continue winning--build up momentum against Cisco and others in networking, and then from there we can build ourselves back up into the U.S." This is exactly what Edgar, and afterwards Bob Mao (the next CEO), and Ron Sege (COO), continued to do until 3Com's sale to HP in 2009.
Interested in China or foreign affairs? Will you participate and support us in our journey? Stay tuned for our book and more about Edgar’s challenges in dealing with a difficult China business, his attempted sale of 3Com to Bain Capital, and the tough politics and national security challenges of trying to take 3Com private.