Harpo

In: Business and Management

Submitted By zmassad
Words 1097
Pages 5
It might very well surprise you to see the face of Oprah Winfrey here in this chapter on leadership. After all, Winfrey is an actress and television talk show host—isn’t she? Why yes, she certainly is, but she’s a lot more than that as well. Winfrey is recognized as one of the leading businesspeople in the country and stands firmly in control at Harpo (“Oprah” spelled backward), an entertainment and media company with $345 million in sales in 2008 and 410 employees. Winfrey currently ranks eighth in Fortune magazine’s list of the most powerful women in business. She also is one of only four women to have remained on the list since its inception in 1998. She’s proven to be an extremely shrewd leader and negotiator as chairperson of the organization she founded, earning the respect of not only those who watch her shows, read her magazine, listen to her radio channel, and purchase products that she endorses, but the employees of Harpo as well.

As you’ll find in reading this chapter, Winfrey’s power at Harpo doesn’t come solely because she sits at the top of the organizational chart. Part of her power is celebrity driven, but this celebrity persona has been carefully managed and controlled by Winfrey herself. Winfrey owns every piece of her company: the content, the name brand, the studio, and all production facilities. One of her most important negotiating victories came in 1988, when she acquired the rights to syndicate her own talk show (something that only Johnny Carson had done previously and few have done since).

Since that time, everything that has earned the Oprah stamp of approval has gone through careful consideration, and most potential opportunities get turned down. Winfrey recognizes that her approach to business is somewhat unique: “I don’t care about money. It throws people off in business meetings. They start shuffling papers.” There are many…...

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