“In a stock market meltdown with the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq dropping more than a third in value in one savage year, Tampa’s Sykes Enterprises squeezed out a positive stock gain in ’08. It started last year at $18 a share, fell as low as $12.34 but closed on the last day of 2008 at $19.12.
“Who are these guys? What magic piloted them through one of the roughest market years since the Depression?
“Good leadership helped. Chuck Sykes, son of company founder John Sykes, has been CEO of the global call center/outsourcing business since 2004 (when the stock traded at less than $5 a share) after nearly 23 years at the company. Now there are maturing signs Chuck Sykes, 45, is starting to mainstream into leadership positions in the Tampa Bay business community.
“Tampa Bay Partnership chief Stuart Rogel recently singled out Sykes to me in conversation as a comer in his regional economic development organization (Sykes is currently working on regional education issues). And Sykes is also the sole Hillsborough rep on the 11-member business group known as “A Baseball Community” charged with finding site options for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium.
“But what let Sykes Enterprises defy the crashing stock markets of 2008? Cost-cutting corporations turned to Sykes to handle customer service calls, as both Sykes’ earnings and revenues rose last year.
“Another secret ingredient? Sykes found itself “in an enviable position during this credit crisis with no debt and a cash safety net of $220.1-million,” said Zack’s research analyst Tracey Ryniec.
“By spreading itself globally, Sykes can pick the best from dozens of call center sites employing some 27,000 employees to maximize returns and keep clients happy.”
Expect to hear more from Sykes in the future.