Chapter 2 At Pearson

It took a bold Texan to finally shake up Britain's Pearson. But can CEO Marjorie Scardino transform it into a global media colossus?

Marjorie Scardino isn't the table-pounding type. Unlike many media moguls, she relies to a surprising degree on gentle humor to do her persuading. But that doesn't mean she's easily satisfied. Olivier Fleurot, the suave Gallic head of the Financial Times newspapers, discovered as much when he made his first presentation to the CEO of Pearson PLC in July, 1999. Fleurot was feeling pretty confident when he promised her that by 2005 he would push the pink business papers' global circulation to 750,000--an increase of almost 90%. Scardino's response: "I am disappointed, Olivier," she said with a smile. "I thought you were going to say 1 million." That taught Fleurot something about his boss: "One of Marjorie's great qualities is that she is pushy," he says.

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