January 12, 2010
By Cara Sievers
For the past 30 years, John Legere, CEO of Global Crossing, has been on telecom’s fast track — starting his career in 1980 at New England Telephone in Boston, then moving on to leading roles at AT&T Inc. and Dell Computer Corp. before being named to the top spot at Global Crossing in 2001. Today, John leads the global IP solutions company with more than 5,000 employees. The company offers a range of data, voice and video products to approximately 40 percent of the Fortune 500, as well as to 700 carriers, mobile operators and ISPs in more than 690 cities, 60 countries and six continents around the globe.
So, one might ask, what does John do to take a break from his busy career? He runs.
It all started back in high school, when John was an avid basketball player. He tried out for track and field as a way to get in better shape for basketball, but quickly became one of the top high school distance runners in Massachusetts. In fact, during an undefeated dual-meet season while in high school, he set seven consecutive course records, several of which still stand today. John was Central Mass, State District and State Division Individual Champion, a runner-up in New England Coaches Invitational and winner of many high school invitational events. He also set school records in the 880, one-mile and two-mile events — with a mile time of 4:20 that he said is likely still standing roughly 32 years later.
Later, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, John was a member of track teams that were ranked “Top Ten” (NCAA Division One) and “Top Three” (New England Division One) and were IC4A Champions.
“After college, I transformed my passion for running, first becoming a nationally known competitive road racer as part of the Saucony Racing Team and now a competitive age-group and corporate runner,” John explained. He participates regularly in different racing events and recently was the winner in his age group in a large New York City 5K competition. “I‘m proud to say, too, that I’ve raised more than $700,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through participation in marathons,” said John.
John has run several marathons, mostly the Boston and New York marathons, but he also participates in other events like the Empire State Building Run-Up, racing up the 1,575 stairs of the Empire State Building from the lobby to the 86th floor. “Trust me,” John said, “halfway up, the elevator looks more and more appealing!”
Additionally, John was a member of 1984 Olympic Torch Relay that carried the Olympic flame from NYC to Los Angeles before the start of the Summer Games, and he is also a past Board Member of the United States Track and Field Foundation.
John currently works with a coach and said he trains far more than most people would think he has time for. “Just as I do in my business life, I set lofty goals for running,” John said. “I’m always ‘in training.’”
John said he’s found that a healthy lifestyle makes a world of difference when traveling the world to lead a global company. “As a CEO, there are going to be days when you want to run away from it all. I don’t fight that impulse,” he said. “When you look healthy and you feel healthy, your employees will get another message — the company is healthy, too.”
Words to live by: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas Edison
Thoughts on telecom: “These are exciting times in telecom. Although industry analysts have forecasted a decrease in overall telecom spending for the year, they have also predicted increases in our core product offerings, IP-based services. These services enable business applications to run more efficiently and at a lower cost to the enterprise. In essence, they can ‘do more with less.’”
Do you know someone who has Personality+? We’re looking for interesting characters in telecom to take the spotlight! Please send nominations to Cara Sievers at [email protected].
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