What Corning CEO Wendell P. Weeks Learned from Steve Jobs About Risk – TIME

by | Jun 12, 2022 | Jobs

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Wendell P. Weeks, Corning’s long-serving leader, says he rapidly ramped up production of its new medical glass vials for COVID-19 vaccines last year based on critical lessons from his late acquaintance Steve Jobs. The Apple co-founder “changed the way I thought about risk,’’ explains Weeks, who has served as chief executive of the storied glassmaker since 2005. Corning exceeded its 2021 expectations by churning out more than 150 million vaccine vials—enough to hold more than 1.2 billion doses. The company can now produce 500 million such vials annually, thanks to a new manufacturing plant it opened about six months ahead of schedule.

Weeks stands 6 ft. 5 in. tall but prefers a low profile. No wonder few people know how extensively Corning, founded in 1851, has shaped our lives. His employer pioneered numerous innovations since developing the glass for Thomas Edison’s first lightbulb. Weeks keeps the 1880 initial Edison order on his office wall to remind him “how small things can become great.’’ Corning also invented Pyrex cookware, glass to encase TV tubes, hair-thin glass strands that formed the internet’s backbone and damage-resistant Gorilla Glass for Apple’s iPhone screens. It’s currently used in more than 8 billion devices worldwide. Weeks, a Lehigh accounting major, joined …

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