The Lazy CEO Podcast

Leading Leaders in Multi Unit Businesses

by Jan 2, 2023The Lazy CEO Podcast

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn about leading leaders:

  • Sam Watson, The CEO Project member, and CEO of a multinational conglomerate shares his background
  • Key to success for leaders leading leaders
  • The impact of recurring or repeatable business

In this Episode…

Jim Schlecker and Sam Watson, discuss the complexity of the multinational business and managing multiple presidents. Sam shares his story.

Sam’s headquarters is here in the US but is spread around about 40 different countries. They have meaningful, 50 plus headcount in probably 10 or so countries around the world. Their geographic spread both in terms of customers as well as manufacturing and employees and quite vast. In terms of the nature of the products that they are selling – they are all sort of marine water oriented.

One of the things Jim has talked about previously in terms of the goodness of a business is recurring revenue. Customers repeat a lot with them either through the course of the year or over like a five-year period. A race boat is a consumable product. If you look at their customer base, it’s quite solid and approximately 80% of them are repeat buyers. Their mass-building business is more focused on the top end of the market, the big soup yachts and the race boats in particular. And they tend to be kind of repeat owners in the background. They might have different boats and sometimes cross between different parts of the business, but they are big capital projects. In general, pretty good predictability about what they are going to get next year. Customers repeat on whatever cycle, depending on the product.

Sam is a leader leading leaders. They have their own P & L inside each of these businesses. He is in constant contact with them throughout the week. There are issues boiling up around the business that Sam gets in touch with them to solve. And that always gives him a touch point to just check in on how things are going. Sam focuses on tracking to the budget and the sales KPIs.

Jim and Same also discuss budgeting, 5-year planning, strategy, and the importance of running a high-functioning organization virtually. To learn more about success in multi-unit businesses, download this week’s episode of The Lazy CEO Podcast.

Resources mentioned in this episode:


Thank you to our Guest

Sam Watson

Sam Watson, North Technology Group, CEO

Sam is a leader with multinational experience and a track record leading large teams across multiple geographies and time zones at the most senior level. Sam is an expert at managing the challenges of global communication and demonstrated the ability to drive change & develop buy-in to a global business direction. Sam has extensive experience in M&A, Integration, Strategy Development & Planning, Product Development, and Talent Acquisition and Retention. 

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by The CEO Project. The CEO Project is a business advisory group that brings high-caliber, accomplished CEOs together. Our team of skilled advisors is comprised of current and former CEOs who have run both public and private sector companies across multiple industries. With our experience and expertise, we guide hundreds of high-performing CEOs through a disciplined approach that resolves constraints and improves critical decisions. The CEO Project has helped high-performing, large enterprise CEOs with annual revenues ranging from $20M to over $2 billion to drive growth and achieve optimal outcomes. If you are an experienced CEO looking to grow your company, visit