Schacht Answers At&T's Call

HENRY SCHACHT BECAME A Rust Belt legend by engineering one of the great industrial restructurings of the 1980s. As chief executive of Cummins Engine, he beat back Japanese rivals and cut costs 30%. Can he work his magic again? On Oct. 12, AT&T named Schacht, 60, chairman of its huge equipment spin-off. Schacht has just six to eight weeks in which to prepare the $20 billion division for a public offering--in early 1996. At the same time, he must ready it to do battle without the advantage of AT&T's deep pockets. "It's a marvelous intellectual opportunity," he says. In the process, Schacht will have to push into global markets, develop new technologies, and fight off competitors seeking to steal the business of the unit's most loyal customer--AT&T. Schacht vows to rely heavily on Bell Labs to keep the company on the cutting edge, despite industry rumors that the invention machine may be scaled back. "Bell Labs is the seed corn," he says. "We wouldn't do anything to harm it." A patient builder with an eye for the long haul--just what a $20 billion startup needs.

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