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Ricardo Semler is the majority owner and chief executive officer of Semco Partners, a Brazilian conglomerate with several units including an industrial machinery unit; ERM, a firm involved in environmental consultations; Sembobac, a manufacturer of cooling towers; Cushman and Wakefield Semco, a property management company; SemcoHR, a human resources management firm; Semco Johnson Controls, a company involved in the management of large facilities like hospitals and airports; Semco Ventures, a company offering Internet and advanced technology services; and Semco-RGIS, a company offering inventory control services.

But Semler is best known for his radical form of corporate reengineering and industrial democracy. His brand of democratic management including employee empowerment, even allowing employees to approve costs, identify business opportunities, and share in the profits, has resulted to his conglomerate’s phenomenal growth – from US$4 million in revenues in 1982 to $US212 million in 2003.

His innovative management practices have also resulted in several awards from the industry. He has been featured in Time’s 1994 Global 100 young leaders profile series while the Wall Street Journal America Economia named him as the 1990 and 1992 Brazilian Businessman of the Year, among others.


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