Business

Seven Boston Executives on What You Might Not Know About Their Companies

Reebok was the first company to make fitness shoes exclusively for women.

Photo by iStock.com/luxizeng

Steve Conine, cofounder and cochairman of Wayfair:

One thing that most people don’t know about Wayfair is that it’s the largest technology company in downtown Boston.

Joseph “Jay” Hooley, chairman and CEO of State Street Corporation:

Most people don’t realize the extent to which State Street is a truly global financial-services company, with operations in 30 countries serving clients around the globe. On any given day we’re touching about 11 percent of the global financial system’s total assets. While we’re a global company, Boston is our home and we’re very proud to be celebrating our 225th anniversary [in 2017]. Not many companies can claim that longevity, and we’re very proud of the milestone and Boston’s role in our success.

Shira Goodman, president and CEO of Staples:

One thing the average person doesn’t know about Staples is that our e-commerce and our delivery B2B business is bigger than our retail business. We sell so much more than office products today. In fact, cleaning supplies, promotional products, and food for the break room are some of our fastest-growing businesses.

Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity:

Most people know the name Fidelity, but many people don’t realize that while asset management is a critically important part of our company and heritage, we also provide more help and advice to every segment of the population than any other financial services adviser in the country, be it to high-net-worth clients, retirees, pre-retirees, women, or millennials. The vast majority of our employees are not in asset management, but rather are licensed financial professionals, technologists, and those with deep digital skills.

Matthew O’Toole, president of Reebok:

One thing most people don’t know about Reebok is that we were the first company to make fitness shoes exclusively for women. The Freestyle, our iconic shoe made popular by the ’80s aerobics craze, is one of our heritage models from that era. It’s still one of our most popular shoes today.

Lisa Tanzer, president of Life Is Good

Most people know the brand Life Is Good, but you’d be surprised to learn that we’re heading into our 25th anniversary and our cofounders are still very hands-on with the art and message of our products. You can often find them passionately sketching and writing on a daily basis.

Finally, Jim Taiclet is the chairman, president, and CEO of American Tower, which just might be the most important Boston company you’ve never heard of.

We’re the only cell-tower company with global reach—with nearly 150,000 sites in 15 different countries on five continents. And we’re the leading independent provider of towers in the largest free-market democracies on all five of those continents. Nobody else even comes close to our size and reach.

 

[Adapted from Boston Inc., a series of interviews conducted in 2015 and 2016. See more.]


Chris Sweeney Chris Sweeney, Senior Editor at Boston Magazine csweeney@bostonmagazine.com