ConsumerFi Podcast: The Ex-GE Podcast - A Conversation with Larry Chiavaro of Remitter
This week, we have a very special crossover with The Ex-GE Podcast, a show where Joel and Tom Wolf interview GE alums from the Jack Welch Era about what made GE a special place to work, learn and grow. In this episode, they interview Larry Chiavaro, current CEO of Remitter, to talk about GE ‘s focus on rewarding greatness, the importance of personal branding and a great story of Larry impressing Jack during a presentation.
You can meet Joel in person at the National Automotive Finance Association’s 25th Annual Non-Prime Auto Financing Conference this August 30 – September 1, 2021 in Plano, Texas. Register today!
ConsumerFi is presented by Nortridge Software: Loan Software That Accelerates Change.
And special thanks to The National Automotive Finance Association: The only trade association exclusively serving the nonprime auto finance industry.
[00:00:00] Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us. This is the ConsumerFi podcast. I’m your producer, Stephen English. And this week we have a very special crossover episode with the ex-GE podcast, which is hosted by Tom Wolf, of Visular a former guest of the podcast. This week, he and Joel interview Larry Chiavaro about GE and what made it a very special place to learn, work and grow.
[00:00:22] Thank you so much for joining us on this very special crossover episode. We’ll see you next week.
[00:00:29] Joel Kennedy: [00:00:29] You’re listening to the ConsumerFi podcast, powered by Nortridge loan software that accelerates the dream.
[00:00:39] Tom Wolf: [00:00:39] Oh, welcome to the XG podcast where former G E. Leaders from the Jack Welch era. Talk about business and leadership and management best practices from a GE perspective, uh, with myself, Tom Wolf, Joe Kennedy, and our guests. [00:01:00] Larry Chiavaro. I’m going to turn it over to Joel who knows Larry much better than I do to, uh, do the intro.
[00:01:05] Go ahead, Joel. Thanks
[00:01:06] Joel Kennedy: [00:01:06] Tom. Thanks everybody for listening. So, uh, the common feature that we all have is we’re all former G alum. I worked with Tom at GE information services and he has, uh, some experience with other GE businesses. Uh, we worked in it. Larry, it’s a pleasure to have you on because you are an executive, uh, a specialist in sales.
[00:01:28] You can talk to a lot of how, uh, GE you know, top line revenue profitability, the whole nine, even even six Sigma weave its way through the sales process. But Larry, you know, I think there’s probably a very small population of people who don’t know who you are, especially in consumer lending, but can you, can you tell folks a little bit about your background with general electric and who you are and where we are today?
[00:01:51] Larry Chiavaro: [00:01:51] I appreciate that. Thanks, Joel. And thanks Tom. Well, I thank you for inviting me today. It’s very exciting to be sharing some of my experiences [00:02:00] here. So I spent almost 10 years with GE capital back in, in the nineties and started in the auto finance division of GE at a Barrington, Illinois. And my role at the time was I was a.
[00:02:13] District sales manager, area sales manager. They called us, which really meant I was a sales guy. I was calling on auto dealers for the auto finance business and doing an indirect lending for subprime credit. It was a new entry for GE on the auto finance side. And I would call on dealers in the New York city marketplace.
[00:02:36] Wonderful, wonderful time. I had a GE and, and, and miss those days, uh, when you had. You’re a little GE meatball on your business card and you walked into a dealer, it meant you were with G you were selected. I represent the best of the best and it was always, yeah, very exciting to me. I continued out of GE auto for another 16 months into [00:03:00] GE fleet.
[00:03:02] Uh, and I’ll share with you as we get there. How I, how I got to that point, but I was heading up a new venture for GE fleet, which was a new track lease product with a zero zero residual, which was for light and medium duty truck dealers. And I ran production and built the sales organization for half the U S until she decided to get out of all, most of the auto lending and truck lending business.
[00:03:32] Tom Wolf: [00:03:32] You said you missed the days. It was a good experience. And part of what Joel and I talk about on this podcast is, and not to you look, we can all blow, smoke up each other’s, you know, what’s with, uh, you know, how great things were, but no, there was, there really was kind of a magic about the talent and the culture.
[00:03:46] And Joel and I talked about that in depth already. What particularly about being in a sales team, you know, a secret part of the sales process and the rigor there. Do you think it was kind of unique about GE that made it such a positive thing? Yeah.
[00:04:00] [00:03:59] Larry Chiavaro: [00:03:59] So G auto finance, we had 900 field reps, our area sales managers, um, and I quickly climbed to be the top.
[00:04:10] Area sales manager at GE for four years in a row at a night Andre. And so to me, that was an important career piece for me. And the top 10, we are all really good friends today. And so there was the top 10 of us, you know, then the next bunch of B players and then the middle of the road guys, and then, you know, the C and the D players, which.
[00:04:32] No, based on the GE training, we were basically taught that, Hey, you know, the A-players drive this business and you guys need to maintain that relationship and move forward. And, and we did that today. Some of my closest friends for a players, I joke, um, back in the day, Mike nibbling was number one when I started and I told him I was going to take his number one slot.
[00:04:57] But the only way that I can move Mike out. Cause he’s one of the [00:05:00] best I’ve seen in my career was that Mike left the company before I did. And so with my gout, I took over his slot. So we, we, we still joke about this 20 something years later,
[00:05:11] Joel Kennedy: [00:05:11] shout out to Mike nibbling. Hope
[00:05:12] Tom Wolf: [00:05:12] he’s doing well. So was it caliber of talent, Larry or was it process, was it, you know, culture?
[00:05:20] Was it a combination? What do you think made that two live sessions?
[00:05:23] Larry Chiavaro: [00:05:23] I think it was more cultural. Then process, I think. The talent level again, you know, 50% of, of the group was, was a high level. Um, but I think the, the culture was good. We, we had a, a VP of sales that we reported to. That’s one of my close friends today and my mentor, George clinky, George was a, a GE veteran for many years.
[00:05:46] And, and he moved over from GE auto leasing to the GE subprime program. And, and George was just wonderful with people and he understood. That he had built a team of high [00:06:00] performance. And he would just get out of the way and ask us for whatever help or interference that he could run for us. So George knew how to manage high performers at that particular point.
[00:06:11] And so that the, the culture there was great being a background of, of networking for me for many years, I was able to, to get involved in some of the GE I would say outside clubs. And one was boundaryless sales. And for those who don’t know what boundaryless sales is, is that boundary-less sales contributed $8 million a year in revenue to the bottom line.
[00:06:35] It’s going to be $8 million to the bottom line every year at GE. And we had one representative from every GE business and we would meet. Um, monthly in New York city, we had an executive council of 22 of us, and on a quarterly basis, we would meet what they would call an all sales day. So all of the GE businesses would [00:07:00] send their sales folks to an oil sales day to network with other GE businesses.
[00:07:05] And we would do that typically in a large hotel and being on the executive committee out of New York and GE headquarters was so close. Um, I had the benefit of meeting Dennis Naden back in the day. And Dennis, who was the CFO became our executive sponsor. So, um, listening to Dennis over the years, Uh, on GE and the culture and so forth was quite encouraging to people back in the day.
[00:07:35] And he shared a lot of those inner workings with us. And, you know, you’re talking about just sales guys. Additionally, GE has probably the best training out there, but as a sales guy, we used to. I mean, I would constantly fight training. I don’t want to go to training. You’re taking me out of the field. What are we doing with them?
[00:07:53] Because you know, whether it was, you know, additional training that most companies don’t go through anti-trust training, we had to get [00:08:00] certified every year. And then I was on the initial group that was selected for the six Sigma program. So before all the belts came out, um, they selected a group of us and we were the first greenbelts edgy.
[00:08:15] Uh, back in the day. And then I eventually became a, a GE black belts and the process management work, other things, we would shake our heads because as a finance company, it didn’t work, but I’m thankful today that I did go through that, you know, 20
[00:08:32] Tom Wolf: [00:08:32] something years. So, okay. Let me parse a few of these things.
[00:08:35] I’m sure. Joel has questions, but that was okay. So first of all, the that led us, that got out of the way, the boss that got out of the way and let you guys do what you do, especially when he knew he had that top caliber talent. So to me, that goes back to something Joel, and I did talk about in our initial episode about the, you know, the Welsh leadership values and that speed simplicity self-confidence thing.
[00:08:56] And he wanted leaders that had self-confidence, you know, so to me, [00:09:00] I think it takes, you know, sales guys. I look, I’m more of an it guy. So while you were out front, so the boundary-less sales thing, frankly, to me, I didn’t know much about until you just told me now, you know, Joe and I were the guys busy on the backend with it stuff or sourcing stuff.
[00:09:15] And, you know, we were, we considered ourselves critical support to the, you know, to the operational sides of the business, whether it’s manufacturing or financial services, you know, the operational systems or to the frontline sales folks. But we were more back office. The interesting thing about all that is.
[00:09:31] The, the sales guys are known, you know, in the world for good, or for worse, for better, for worse is having egos. Right. And having a certain personality type. But I think it takes a heck of a, a lack of, I mean, a lack of bad ego or like a Val the ego to get out of the way and let people thrive. You know what I mean?
[00:09:49] And like, and the same thing with the boundary-less sales group. You know, getting sales guys to cooperate outside of their territory or outside of their commission structure in a lot of [00:10:00] companies, or even within GE sometimes is a challenge, right? Because the, the negative reputation of sales folks is all they give a crap about as their commission.
[00:10:08] And, you know, they’ll navigate that commission structure to make their checkbook look good. And if you ask them to put on a bigger hat, like a bigger corporate hat or whatever, it can be a challenge. So I think it’s a real Testament to the. To the culture of GE and the strong leadership, you know, that they were willing to, you know, one get out of the way and act in a boundaryless.
[00:10:27] Larry Chiavaro: [00:10:27] Well, Dennis Naden, with the cooperation of marketing put together a program, a national program that if you brought in a you’d fill out a form, if you brought in another GE business into one of your customers, there was a reward, there was a point reward and the points equal for prizes, and then a certain amount of points equal.
[00:10:48] And so I was, um, selected and won a trip to Bermuda with all of the other boundary of the sales folks from who went around the country. And it was wonderful [00:11:00] back in the day with our spouses. Uh, one of the interesting pieces was, is that. Yeah, the GE executives were there and they were very active with us on this trip, including a presentation to you and your spouse in a, in a setting about GE and the benefits and such.
[00:11:17] And so it was, it was a great reward back in the day, but we would bring in other GE businesses into our customers. So
[00:11:24] Tom Wolf: [00:11:24] there were, so there were incentives. It wasn’t just, Hey, the culture’s great. Put on your big hat. And
[00:11:29] Larry Chiavaro: [00:11:29] there was incentives later on, not in the beginning. Okay. What’s that mark
[00:11:33] Joel Kennedy: [00:11:33] makers.
[00:11:34] Larry, is that what
[00:11:35] Larry Chiavaro: [00:11:35] that was called? No, I’m not familiar with that. This was called boundaryless sales and the quarterly, um, events that we would do a cold old sales day.
[00:11:44] Tom Wolf: [00:11:44] Got it. Yeah. I like those concepts for other multi-national type groups. And then it wasn’t the group within GE capital. Wasn’t there a pinnacle sales thing
[00:11:53] Larry Chiavaro: [00:11:53] as well?
[00:11:53] Yeah, there was a pinnacle group and I, I won the pinnacle award quite a
[00:11:57] Tom Wolf: [00:11:57] few times. And that was how you were. So again, that [00:12:00] was Welch’s philosophy though, is you reward success, right? You, you, you publicly reward it. You ask people to stretch, you push them, you push for that talent, but you really, they weren’t good at rewarding in those kinds of ways.
[00:12:11] And he wasn’t as big on. Punishing for me not getting to stretch goals, although the force rank of the talent, you know, removing the bottom ones that weren’t performing. And Joel and I talked about this before as well. I used to be a little harsher in my mentality of okay. Get rid of the wasted people that aren’t strong.
[00:12:28] They’re not, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re worthless. They’re not good. That was maybe a, uh, Egotistical way to look at it because I got into those A-player ranks as well within my function, but it was more, in my opinion, they weren’t good fits, right. They might not have been good salespeople, but they also just weren’t good fits for the GE thing.
[00:12:44] And so by, you know, focusing on the top ones and investing in them and rewarding them, then you kept bringing in better talent. I think, think
[00:12:50] Larry Chiavaro: [00:12:50] of it this way. It wasn’t always income generated because the pay structure at GE was much less than other, [00:13:00] other competitors. Right? You could’ve gone to another competitor, probably got double the base salary and you know, maybe a higher commission pay.
[00:13:08] But you weren’t working for GE and that was the difference. Okay. And people would leave, you know, because the grass was greener. They can get more money, but ultimately they wouldn’t be as
[00:13:19] Tom Wolf: [00:13:19] successful. That was exactly true in the functions that didn’t have base versus variable. I mean, I never had variable comp because I was a, I had rewards, stock, option rewards, stretch goals, and things like that, but I never had, you know, a commission to go earn.
[00:13:35] And it was exactly the same in the leadership functions of finance. It, we all knew, even if you were in that A-player circle, it was a joke. It’s like, I can make 10% more probably tomorrow, just by one out the door. You know what I mean? But you weren’t working for GE
[00:13:50] Larry Chiavaro: [00:13:50] you didn’t leave. And it was interesting that one day I remember I was out calling on, on my customers and my pager went off.
[00:13:58] We had pagers back [00:14:00] then, like I called in, it was my bosses boss. Well, I didn’t talk to too often, but you know, we had a good relationship and out of the blue telling me that I was just getting awarded stock options. I mean, that was wonderful, right? I mean, it’s just a surprise. Hey, here you go. We appreciate what you’re doing.
[00:14:16] And you know, here’s stock options. Here’s how they work. Um, you know, you know, thank you for being part of the, the organization
[00:14:24] Tom Wolf: [00:14:24] you were working your butt off and there were stretch goals and it was a, it was a, it was a love, hate thing sometimes with the, with the, how, how brutal the rhythm was and how you had to push, push, push, but then you get those talk option rewards, and you were like, Hey, this is okay.
[00:14:36] They are appreciating my efforts here and there is a payoff, so that’s excellent. Cool.
[00:14:41] Joel Kennedy: [00:14:41] You know, one of the things I really liked about working at GE was the measure of structure. And there was definitely this kind of military type overlay I felt in terms of, you know, we were doing a lot of heavy projects that would conform with DOD, you know, type quality for, you know, so, so you need a heavy document driven [00:15:00] lifecycle and things are going to take time.
[00:15:03] So when you left Larry, did you find that some of these tools, whether they were, you know, six Sigma or cap tools or, you know, the rhythm of review that they have with session 1, 2, 3 session, I, all these different audits, you knew where you were within the year, and you knew within that current year, when you had to start looking to plan for next year, did you find any of that valuable when you left and then you took other executive roles?
[00:15:27] Larry Chiavaro: [00:15:27] Yeah. I mean, I, I use a lot of the process management today that I learned at GE I’ve used the structure of the ideas, um, on a, on a whiteboard, um, with sticky notes, I’ve used, you know, the pipeline management that we had back in the day as well. I use that today. Okay. With, with, with updates, I’ve used the 5 15, 50, 15, 10, quite a bit.
[00:15:54] And so for those that don’t know, you know, your, your top [00:16:00] 5% of your team typically does most of your, your business, then you have the next 15, uh, the middle of the road, or you’re 50 percenters on that again. You know, 15, 10, and, and what, what this was is that every quarter we had to force, rank our people.
[00:16:18] And when you have to force, rank your people, it’s a very difficult conversation that you have to have first with yourself, and then with the employees, as you rank them, and, you know, working with Jack Welch at the helm, Jack. Wanted, you know, any of the bottom 10 or 15, he, he wanted them replaced every quarter.
[00:16:41] He did not want to have an organization and a company of, uh, you know, low performers at every different group within GE today, you can use
[00:16:54] Tom Wolf: [00:16:54] that. Well, we, yeah, we did that across the company in all functions, but the more relevant [00:17:00] sales were we, Larry and I were talking beforehand, we’re going to try to put an artifact or two up, you know, on the complimentary blog post with this.
[00:17:05] So people can see some of the visuals of what those things look like, you know, as reference, but yeah, in sales, my gosh, you know, salespeople have to. Right. So they gotta be delivering the pipeline management you talked about and using some of the outreach, you know? Okay. So you go, I’ve done a lot of it.
[00:17:21] Sales support roles. So, you know, SFA systems and CRM systems and, you know, talking to large corporations and small businesses about, okay, it’s all built. Pipeline funnel. Anyone can find that right now. Right? You can find it in salesforce.com. You can find it at Microsoft dynamics CRM. You can find a basic contact management, even in the old score act that was on computers.
[00:17:42] And a lot of people do it, which, and even at GE with our big budget on technology, we often just did it in a damn good spreadsheets. Right. Just damn good spreadsheets. So those, anyone can turn that on, right. Right and get that stuff, but there was, you know, that doesn’t mean they understand it and they get it.
[00:18:00] [00:17:59] And that was something that I thought this is my take Larry. I would love to hear what you think. When I worked with sales teams at GE look, we could have the pipeline management software, but at the end of the day, when you had that rigorous rhythm of review of those sales calls and, you know, um, and the meetings with the VP of sales and his field team, They didn’t give a crap if the system was good or not, or if the process was, was working well or not, at the end of the day, they updated those damn numbers.
[00:18:24] And if you had to stay up late and get the spreadsheet to look perfect for that executive, so that you really knew where you were on your pipeline and you really knew like on the revenue generating, uh, account management side. Okay. Where are we hitting the numbers? That, that account that was already won?
[00:18:39] What were, were they hitting? You know, and what were we doing to work on that? And then you looked more at it. The new, the new prospects, you know, the hunting versus the farming. And where were we on the percentage of those closing and where were they on the pipeline? So you can find that out of the box right anywhere, but you have to have managers that really understand that.
[00:18:58] And I think the financial rigor. [00:19:00] And the cultural rigor and the discipline, like we got the crap kicked out of us. If we showed up without good numbers and, you know, a sales guy that said, oh, I didn’t get a chance to update my spreadsheet and turned it in to that poor admin that had to work till eight o’clock at night, preparing it for the morning that sales guy did not survive.
[00:19:16] Right. Cause the numbers were so is my gut, right? That there was something about the GE rigor combined with that process stuff that made it.
[00:19:23] Larry Chiavaro: [00:19:23] It is, I think, you know, for, for me my takeaways and, and today, yes, you have. Many CRMs and pipeline management tools, but it always comes down to the same thing, garbage in, garbage out.
[00:19:36] And so most of these are littered with prospects that aren’t going to be buying across every different type of industry that’s out there. And so, you know, I’ve taken it one step. Yeah, once one step forward and I use the GE way with our spreadsheets and updating it monthly so that I can get more granular view, but [00:20:00] I’m not one to push management.
[00:20:05] Daily call activity and such, because if there’s, if there’s no sales, that means there’s no activity. Okay. And if there’s no activity in sales today, you know, that will end pretty quick. And so it’s a results business and I’d rather manage, you know, Transactions that are likely to, uh, to result in sales and some early prospects to, to move along, but not a very large database of.
[00:20:36] Prospects that won’t won’t close.
[00:20:39] Tom Wolf: [00:20:39] I see. I think that’s, it’s where you having those talented senior managers who know sales is critical because look, if I go into a small business and I consult with them, or I can go into a big business and I’m trying to say, look, you do need to have your discipline. You do need you to have your process, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
[00:20:54] I’m not a sales guy. I will never be a VP of sales. You know that that’s not me. I got to find an, a [00:21:00] player talented person that gets. Because they then make, in my opinion, with any tool, any process, the judgment call, right? Do we rely on yeah. Crunching the numbers and the, and the database versus when do we really.
[00:21:12] You have to completely just know what’s good prospects and results. And there’s a balance there of when to use the tools. You said it wasn’t more process, it was more talent, you know, and then the field, sorry about the phone, the field resisted the, um, the training cause they wanted to be outselling, right?
[00:21:29] That was always the thing. Field versus headquarters headquarters would come out with a thing, even at GE and say, here’s our new stuff. We got to, you’re going to push this. You’re going to do this program. And very often the field were resisted. If in there. Those A-players salespeople were like, that’s not really going to help me sell.
[00:21:43] And I think you have to rely on the judgment of leadership, you know, even if you have the best tools and database and process. All right. Uh, Joel, that was, that was excellent stuff on sales. I’ve got some other topics we wanted to touch on before we run out of time. Joel. But did you have anything last on that or?
[00:21:57] Yeah, I mean, I, I
[00:21:58] Joel Kennedy: [00:21:58] think I, I’m just shifting more to like [00:22:00] a very general question. Cause you know, we talked a lot and obviously. There’s way more to, uh, to Larry than just the sales aspect. Right? So Larry you’ve you’ve run in built very large successful organizations. In fact, you just traded out of one of them and did, you know, did, did great, you know, I guess, you know, just very broadly speaking.
[00:22:19] What are the things that you picked up from GE that are just the indelible things like maybe the top three things that you say, just stick with you and you’re not going to shake them out of Larry. Larry is always going to use pipeline reporting, for example, like, can you think of like the top three things that you’ve picked up from your experience at GE
[00:22:35] Larry Chiavaro: [00:22:35] relationship management is critical.
[00:22:38] And so today I won’t hire anyone. That doesn’t have existing relationships. And I think over the years, the folks that I have hired that didn’t have relationships were not very successful. So I think today having existing relationships goes, it goes a long way. You and I know each other for, for 20 years and we really never did business.
[00:22:59] And we’ve, [00:23:00] you know, we were friendly folks in the industry. And I think that goes, that goes a long way today, right? I mean, this relationship piece to me, um, is something that I preach. It’s not about a transaction. It’s about a relationship. And, and our sales group gets tired of hearing it from me, but, but I think today this is absolutely critical
[00:23:24] Tom Wolf: [00:23:24] boiler.
[00:23:25] You’re you are making me beam because Joel’s, I’ve talked to Joel about my own little business strategy for my crappy little consulting company and a little boutique firm. I’m very small on purpose, but I keep talking about that circle of trust. I’ve got people. A lot of my clients, a lot of the consultants that have worked with me are people I’ve known for 20 or more years.
[00:23:43] Some of which I never did do business with. Right. Raj Rao was Joel, my former boss. He was the CIO at Guice. He went into burger king, he’s hired other people that have been my consultants. I tried to sell him consulting. It never worked out. He didn’t bring me on for a gig, but he’s still one of my most trusted advisors.
[00:23:59] In fact, [00:24:00] he’s on my team now. Um, and then there are the ones you do business with as well. But yeah, that, that longterm relationship boy. You’re singing my song. I love hearing that because people don’t seem to, people seem to want to like build 5,000 LinkedIn connections and network like crazy and have what I consider more shallow relationships.
[00:24:17] Cause they just want to sell, sell, sell versus the long stuff. Yeah. Joe,
[00:24:21] Larry Chiavaro: [00:24:21] what ties into that as well is I’m a big believer. Impersonal brand. And so at GE, right, we were proud to carry the meatball on our, on our card. And they built it, that brand image that you should be, you know, you should be proud to carry that I’m a big believer in personal brand today.
[00:24:41] And so, um, everything that you do out there in the world of digital today is tracked it’s out there. And I think that it’s critical. That people know who you are, what you do and do things for the industry or socially that you don’t benefit for [00:25:00] personally, but in the long run you really do because it always comes back to help.
[00:25:04] And I’m a big believer in all of that personal brand. Now I have a son he’s 25. James is in a professional world for over three years. And when James was in high school, I was the chairman of the business partnership program at, uh, the two high schools we have in town. And every year, the first year we did, it was the second year of shark tank and we created our own sharks.
[00:25:30] For the high schoolers, we would have 40 teams compete. And the first year we were able to get Daymond John to Skype in and talk to the kids. And I did not know the topic that he was going to talk to them, but he spent 15 minutes talking to high school kids about their personal brand and why he didn’t hire somebody recently, who they really liked because as they dug into her personal history, she bashed her boss on face.
[00:25:58] Tom Wolf: [00:25:58] Wow. That’s so [00:26:00] valuable for young kids to hear, right.
[00:26:02] Larry Chiavaro: [00:26:02] Kids have to hear this today. And so I’m a big believer in personal brand. And if you’re going to get involved in LinkedIn, don’t put anything in, that’s stupid up there and don’t connect with everybody that you can. I’m getting. 1520 requests a day from people all over the world that I aren’t even in, you know, a related business that I’m in or, you know, or that I would ever, you know, do business.
[00:26:27] And to me, you know, that’s my brand and I don’t want to have them to have access to my brand that way. I think it’s a big, big thing today when it comes to.
[00:26:38] Tom Wolf: [00:26:38] Joel, Joel, I consider Joel my coach on my personal brand because I get a little cynical about, uh, all the, you know, building the I’m not a sales guy.
[00:26:48] You know what I mean? I, I value my relationship and my integrity don’t get me wrong. Everything you said I agree with, but I’m not as good at. Thinking about it in terms of how I then connect in the relationships on the outside, like sales and [00:27:00] whatever. And I, you know, that’s why I’ve linked up with Joel to do this.
[00:27:02] Cause he’s way ahead of me. He’s a thought leader in his industry, he’s doing panel discussions, but he always does it with integrity and the people he brings on to his other podcast or the people he interviews for articles and whatnot are, are sharp and spot on. And so I think, I think you guys are really good at it, so I envy it and aspire to it, but I think it’s great.
[00:27:20] Yeah. So my,
[00:27:22] Larry Chiavaro: [00:27:22] my days after GE and when GE got out of the auto finance business, I spent five years at household auto, which became HSBC auto. Um, and I ran the non dealer program for banks and credit unions in it, early stage internet companies back in the day when HSBC came in, I left about a year later and joined our former CEO in the mortgage business, the wholesale mortgage business, and stayed about five years in total.
[00:27:46] The first credit crisis hit and all of the securitizations shut down. And most of those business shuttered and so. I took, uh, uh, at that time a buyout and said, okay, what do I want to do next? And I decided to [00:28:00] friend of mine called me and said, Hey, I’m running a loan servicing business where you need somebody like yourself to come in as a consultant and then possibly join us.
[00:28:07] Would you like to do that? I did. And, um, I figured out two things. I liked the loan servicing business, and I know it based upon my, you know, X amount of years in financial services. But number two, I didn’t like the company. I thought they were quite antiquated. So I went out and bought my own. And so in, um, 2010, early 2010, I bought a company with two partners called first associates.
[00:28:34] At that time was a mobile home servicing company. We grew that business from six people to over 600 people. And in the summer of 2019, we, um, we sold. The majority of our stock to stone point capital, which is a private equity, where are you from? And then I took rollover equity. And when COVID hit, decided that I have now had enough of [00:29:00] commuting back and forth San Diego twice a month.
[00:29:02] And I’d either like to hang out and do nothing or find something else to do eventually. And so I left in September of 2020, joined a couple of boards. My relationships with the conferences they became virtual, uh, were still there. They all asked me to moderate panels, which I still do today. And in January I took a position with a Australian FinTech company by the name of remitter remitter is a.
[00:29:34] Digital accounts receivable and collection platform. And, um, we’re growing that business after a proof of concept in the U S we’re now launching that to, uh, lenders, um, throughout north America.
[00:29:49] Tom Wolf: [00:29:49] So I want to bring you back because we, I cut you off. Cause I got all excited about personal brand. Joel asked for the, the three things.
[00:29:56] I don’t know if you had three, but relationship management was one was personal brand. The [00:30:00] second one,
[00:30:00] Larry Chiavaro: [00:30:00] absolutely personal brand is absolutely the second thing.
[00:30:05] Tom Wolf: [00:30:05] Okay. Is there a third? We don’t want to force you to do three first five.
[00:30:08] Larry Chiavaro: [00:30:08] There would have been many things that went into, into numbers. No. And a lot of the training, a lot of the management tools, the relationship piece of, of the co-workers things like that.
[00:30:20] Okay. Okay.
[00:30:20] Tom Wolf: [00:30:20] Well then can we shift to Utah? Okay. So you’ve obviously know about business development, you know, about launching companies, leading companies, buying companies. What did you learn? Anything when you, you did that within GE, they asked you to head up. Right. Which is, you know, they, when they took top talent, you know, so was there anything about the, the leadership process about the way GE did either acquisitions or launch new initiatives and new markets that you would want to share?
[00:30:45] That was, that were, you know, cause that’s very different than just, Hey, out here we got a business go sell, right?
[00:30:51] Larry Chiavaro: [00:30:51] Yeah. I really wasn’t in that too much to my last year and a half at GE when I moved over to GE fleet was a brand new concept through, through fleet, which was [00:31:00] the light and medium duty trucks.
[00:31:02] Finance business. And so that was new. So they looked at a different, and I did learn a lot based upon how do you, how do you set up your marketing campaigns and how do you aggressively go after this business and, and, you know, round out your staff and such. And that helped me later on in my career.
[00:31:19] Tom Wolf: [00:31:19] Got it.
[00:31:19] Yeah. What we’re going to probably cover is, um, you know, capital was, uh, M and a machine or acquire, acquire. And what was really interesting for me to watch. Cause I w you know, we both worked at GE capital fleet services, but not at the same time, but didn’t know each other. Cause I was over in Europe, my business card and it was a bummer.
[00:31:37] I actually said, Avis fleet service. Because then it finally said a GE capital company, because in Europe they acquired the fleet management business of Avis, which was number two to lease plan, which is number one. These are all company cars, but I was watching, I lived it. And then I saw over and over acquisition after acquisition.
[00:31:55] And what was fascinating. And again, Joel will try to find some guests who are really good. I’d love to find one of [00:32:00] those integration managers. Right, because that was a process where they would take the GE culture and they would respect what was in the companies that they bought of course, cause that they bought it for a reason, but, but that company would be a GE company through and through so fast.
[00:32:17] It was unbelievable.
[00:32:18] Larry Chiavaro: [00:32:18] And it, yeah, it it’s, it’s interesting. You say this here because you know, I mentioned George Klinky early on who’s my mentor. And when I was taking the role at remitter before I did, I called you. Because George was on the M and a team for auto finance. And I said, George, here’s what I’m thinking of doing.
[00:32:36] I said, I’m, I’m relying on you to do an analysis for me. And he came back with a very detailed analysis based upon his days and on the M and a side.
[00:32:48] Tom Wolf: [00:32:48] Yup. That was a world-class and it was a machine. And again, that same top talent rigor that you talked about selling. They put those kinds of people on the BD teams and it was more, it was, it was more the [00:33:00] integration that I was impressed with them.
[00:33:01] The acquisition side don’t get me wrong. They did due diligence. They had corporate audit staff. Gee knew how to crunch numbers as good as anyone. And you mentioned Dennis Naden, you know, Dennis namer and these big, big names at G cap. They knew how to grow, but then it was the hard work. In my opinion, maybe that’s because I lived, I was one of the guys that came in to kind of clean up some of the messes after you put all this stuff together and go, my gosh, we’ve uncovered some, you’ve looked up some rocks and found some worms and problems.
[00:33:25] It’s like, we’ve got to get these systems integrated. We got to get part of GE. So I suffered through it, but I was very impressed with how those integrations went. And so yeah, those checklists I use to this day, you know, w whether it’s due diligence or integrate. Correct. I
[00:33:37] Larry Chiavaro: [00:33:37] mean, think about it. You know, I think many of us who, you know, were fans of Jack or disappointed when Jack retired and, and, you know, the predecessors came in and so, you know, I still, you know, bleed the GME.
[00:33:51] Paul. In fact, my son was a student. At sacred heart university in [00:34:00] Connecticut at the Jack world school of business. And he had a special Jack Welch scholarship program. He was in and Jack would come up and work with the kids.
[00:34:09] Tom Wolf: [00:34:09] Wow. That’s great. That’s great. And other executives I’ve talked to value the GE way of training so much.
[00:34:16] I just talked to a former CEO, one of my former bosses, and I’m going to hope to bring them on the show here. But, uh, he said the same thing. It was his son or son-in-law was like, I was really trying to push for him to get something like FMP, MMP, whatever. And he did it at another company and it looked good on paper.
[00:34:32] And then he went in and it wasn’t very good. It wasn’t the same, you know, the rigor. So yeah, I bleed, I bleed the, the, the meatball as well, you know, uh, from the, from that era. So that’s great.
[00:34:44] Joel Kennedy: [00:34:44] So we’re, we’re probably about at time. I want to, I want you, if Tom, if you’re okay. I want to ask, I want to give Larry though the last, last.
[00:34:53] The last word here,
[00:34:54] Tom Wolf: [00:34:54] go
[00:34:54] Joel Kennedy: [00:34:54] for it. So, Larry, you know, there’s a lot of mystique around Jack Welch. I mean, he was a great manager. He was [00:35:00] a great leader. I mean, he, he had a nose for a lot of things. I mean, HR is just one of them, right? I mean, he gave HR a seat at the table. I don’t know that CEOs had done that in the past.
[00:35:08] And you put a lot of stock in building the team. So now you’ve got folks like bayzos and, and, and Alon, mosque, very different, very different leaders at a Berkshire Hathaway, stepping down. Do you think we’re going to have a leader? That’s like Jack again? I know it’s a weird question and I hate to make it sound all of cheesy, but I mean, is it.
[00:35:31] I think there’s what I’m really trying to get at. I think there’s a relevance to what he did and what he built. And I think it has a lasting, you know, lasting effect and, and that to me is a sign of greatness. Do you, do you, do you see anybody else out there that has that kind of impact that that is active today?
[00:35:46] Larry Chiavaro: [00:35:46] So I’m going to answer this in a second, but probably one of the things that I’ve taken away from Jack is that I still use little note card. And send note cards out to people and clients and such handwritten, which Jack did. But I can tell you that none of those, those [00:36:00] leaders that you mentioned who are all very good, um, I I’m certain they don’t do that.
[00:36:04] Um, this was a trade of Jackson and somebody that I’ve, you know, prided myself on doing. In fact, I have two new employees and I have the cords out on my desk to send to today. So it’s, it’s pretty interesting, but I think the issue with today in 2021 is that. The business community and the world today, they can’t take the bluntness that Jack would bring, you know, Jack was brutally honest.
[00:36:34] He was blunt. He was taking no prisoners. If something was wrong, he’d call it out. And I think that today, many of the folks to sugar coat things, and I don’t think that the reception. Two jacks bluntness would be well-received
[00:36:52] Tom Wolf: [00:36:52] with that, you know? Cause then another, again, the former CEO I was talking about, said to me in my career, when I was working for him, I was the CIO of the business.
[00:36:59] He was the [00:37:00] CEO. He said, you know, Tom, Jack Welch deals with the truth better than almost anyone ever, especially at that point. He said sometimes getting the truth to Jack is a challenge. And, you know, we, we’re not going to go down this whole path, but Joel and I talked about, well, what went wrong? Blah, blah, blah.
[00:37:17] And one of the articles I read about why the company kind of went down afterwards and you know, we’re not going to try to shoot arrows at all the, the future leaders and stuff. But one article in the wall street journal was all about how it kind of became a theater, you know, of, of yes. And a theater of versus, you know, smoking mirrors theater at that executive level versus.
[00:37:36] Candid real truth. And boy, that’s deadly to a big company
[00:37:41] Larry Chiavaro: [00:37:41] with this quick story. So as part of the boundaryless sales group, I was selected one of 12 people to present to Jack at an oil sales day that we were going to have at the NBC studios where Saturday night live as well. And so you’re allowed to bring [00:38:00] clients, but later on, and so there’s room at Saturday night live studios, the studio was filled with about 700 GE associates.
[00:38:08] And you had to send in your presentation on your business. Probably five or six days before. And this was the four block that we were talking about earlier, right before four block is a one-page presentation, broken out into four. I use it today. There’s no more large decks. You were not allowed to have that at GE.
[00:38:28] And the first guy that was up was NBC gentleman from NBC who was really hosting the event. And when the Q and a time came, Jack knew all of the. Ratings. And he knew all of the information. I’m sure his staff helped him prep for that and gave him some of these things. Then next up was GE medical and Jack had run GE medical at one point.
[00:38:52] So he got into a very interesting conversation about medical technology and what was coming. And then the third [00:39:00] guy that was up was GE supply. And this guy got up there with his four block and he shared that his revenues are going to be off 22% this year. And so at GE, if we all had to project 20% growth and you needed to achieve it or that business, wasn’t going to be there too long.
[00:39:21] And so, you know, Jack beat up this guy, something fierce in front of 700 people and. Yeah. And now it’s my turn.
[00:39:33] Joel Kennedy: [00:39:33] This is like, this is like, when the comedians are like, what do you lead me in?
[00:39:38] Larry Chiavaro: [00:39:38] And you too
[00:39:39] Tom Wolf: [00:39:39] good, or, oh my gosh. Right? Where like the, you know, the king is up there and the, and someone does something stupid.
[00:39:46] He chops his head off and it’s like, and now it’s up to Larry. They
[00:39:50] Larry Chiavaro: [00:39:50] have the 12 of us sitting in the front, you know? Um, I don’t like a panel and then I have to get up in front of Jack. And so I’m presenting. This new program [00:40:00] at GE fleet and how we’re going to roll it out in the revenue stream and so forth.
[00:40:04] Two months earlier, GE auto had a loss of about $20 million on lease residuals and the lease residuals were going low. And it ultimately led to them closing the business. And so Jack was drilling me on the difference between this and the GE auto business back in the day. And we had a zero residual, so there was no residual risk, but we, I had to go through that.
[00:40:31] And so after that, I, after my presentation and my, and Jack’s Q and a, there was a break. And Jack came up to me and shook my hand and appreciated all the information. I thought I did a great job. And it’s true today. The highlights of my career.
[00:40:47] Joel Kennedy: [00:40:47] That’s awesome. My hands are like filled with this, like sweat, I,
[00:40:54] Larry Chiavaro: [00:40:54] and then years later, When Jack was rolling out his last book at sacred heart university, they [00:41:00] took the Jack Welch, uh, students, the, the 12 kids that are part of this program and they scored a Jack in and they were assisting Jack.
[00:41:09] And so my son had a conversation with Jack. And told them that, you know, many years ago that I was at GE auto and I did a presentation and, and I I’m sure Jack doesn’t remember me. I mean, I, you know, at this point, but he made it with my son that he really knew me back in the day. So for them, the police say hello to your dad.
[00:41:29] And I thought, that’s all I need to know as right. As a leader. What he did, and even, and he made them feel comfortable. That’s class. That’s great. So I leave you with that today.
[00:41:39] Tom Wolf: [00:41:39] Thank you. Um, what I’ll say, and I’ll let Joel wrap it up at the very end here, but, uh, you know, look, we share these anecdotes and a little bit of war stories when you get people who work together.
[00:41:48] But what I find about when I do this is why we’re doing this podcast. Is I like doing this with the folks in those days, because. There’s a real business. There’s always takeaways from the anecdotes, you know, lessons about leadership, about, [00:42:00] uh, how to manage about your principles that, that applied. So, but also just in general, the content you’ve shared with us, my gosh, this could be a great little mini training course for anyone who’s interested in sales and relationship building and stuff.
[00:42:12] So I I’m I’m, I really appreciate your time. We really are thankful for it. And you shared with us a lot, and I think the complimentary a little blog post with some of the artifacts will be valuable for people as well. From my perspective. Thank you so much, Larry.
[00:42:26] Joel Kennedy: [00:42:26] Thank you. Thanks Larry. Larry Shivaro he’s the CEO of remitter and a former GE alum.
[00:42:32] Thank you so much for filling us in on, on a lot of the aspects, Tom, that we were talking about, you know, sales and sales engineering, and sales management, and how GE manifests that. Larry. Thank you so much.
[00:42:43] Larry Chiavaro: [00:42:43] My pleasure guys. It’s always nice to see you. Bye bye. Now take care.
[00:42:48] Joel Kennedy: [00:42:48] The consumer fi podcast has been brought to you by Northbridge loan software.
[00:42:53] That accelerates change. We’d also like to thank the national automotive finance association, the only trade [00:43:00] association, exclusively serving the non-prime auto financing industry.