The success story behind the world's most unusual workplace
Semco is one of Latin America's fastest-growing companies, acknowledged to be the best in Brazil to work for, and with a waiting list of thousands of applicants waiting to join it. Here, the author shares his secrets, and tells how he tore up the rule books.
Ricardo Semler took over his father's company, Semco (founded in 1954), at the age of 19. Not only did he turn the company round, he made it an outstanding success. On the brink of bankruptcy in 1980, Semco achieved revenues of $34 million in 1993 - and $160 million in 2000. Semler threw out the rule book: for example, workers make their own decisions; every corporate decision is put to the vote; people turn up to the meetings they want to be at. It sounds insane: but it works.