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Frank Blake      

Former Chairman & CEO of Home Depot

Frank Blake was chairman and CEO of Home Depot for seven years. During his time there, his strategy has revolved around reinvigorating the stores and its service culture (engaging employees, making products readily available and exciting to customers, improving the store environment, and dominating the professional contracting business, an area in which Home Depot's closest rivals trail far behind), as he recognized that employee morale is a more sensitive issue in retail compared to other industry sectors like manufacturing.

Blake was given credit for returning to the "Orange Apron Cult — the nearly religious zeal for knowledgeable employees and high levels of customer service that was the secret of the company’s original success", as he believed that customer service was the key to Home Depot to differentiate itself from competitors on aspects other than price.

With less than two months left in Blake’s nearly eight-year tenure as CEO, Home Depot announced that a security hack left 56 million customer credit and debit cards at risk. It was among the largest hacks in U.S. retail history. Instead of laying low during his last days—he had already planned to step down as CEO in November 2014—Blake took the lead in responding to the crisis. Customers were provided free credit monitoring and Home Depot rented a call center that can handle 50,000 inquiries a day. Blake has been praised for his response efforts and crisis communication strategy.

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