How Bob Allen Is Rewiring At&T Management

Last year's contest for control of computer maker NCR Corp. was a study in vastly different executive styles. NCR Chairman Charles E. Exley Jr. regaled reporters with barbed quips about American Telephone & Telegraph Co.'s "failed" computer strategy. AT&T's attempt to get into computers, he said, was like an electric utility going into the Mixmaster business. By contrast, AT&T Chairman Robert E. Allen appeared flat-footed and ill at ease. About the only thing they seemed to have in common was a love of cigars. "Maybe if we'd had a cigar," Allen once sighed, "we'd have found some common ground." Indeed, at times it was hard to tell who was attacking whom.

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