By Susie Gharib
December 20, 2016

Job No. 1 for Marc Lautenbach is innovation. And to him, that means taking risks. That’s been a theme of his leadership at Pitney Bowes, where he started as CEO four years ago with a goal of reinventing the 96-year-old company that makes those iconic postage machines.

Speaking with Fortune’s Susie Gharib, Lautenbach says Pitney Bowes employees had been “risk averse” for many years, but he’s trying to change that. “You help people understand that, listen, if you’re going to be in business, you have to take risks. There is no choice,” he says. “And standing still is a risk.”

Lautenbach is a tech guy. He spent most of career at IBM—nearly 30 years—before joining Pitney Bowes. He says he still makes regular trips to Silicon Valley to talk with tech friends like Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins. He also meets with entrepreneurs and venture capital investors. He is trying to instill that spirit of Silicon Valley innovation with his 14,000 employees working in around the world.

Pitney Bowes’ transformation is still a work in progress. It’s taking longer than Lautenbach may have expected, and it’s not surprising that he says he worries “every day” about losing top talent. So far, his team is committed to the mission and is sticking it out. “People really believe in what we’re doing,” Lautenbach says. “I think that speaks to the credibility of the vision, but I also think it speaks to the culture we’re building.” And to the leadership of Marc Lautenbach.


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