A Bio Of Michael O Johnson: A Revealing Insight Into The Man Behind Herbalife
Michael O Johnson and Herbalife: A Marriage Made in Heaven?
If Herbalife were looking to embody their aims and ambitions in one man, they have found the ideal person in Michael O Johnson. A model of good health and financial success, Johnson is the perfect role-model for all Herbalife distributors and prospects. For a company which aims to ‘improve the health and financial well-being of others’, Michael O Johnson seems to have been born for the role. This article will examine the life and achievements of Herbalife’s CEO, and ask: ‘Just who is Michael O Johnson?’
Herbalife Before Johnson: The Good, The Bad And the Ugly
Under the leadership of founder Mark Hughes, Herbalife had become a hugely successful and profitable company, however they were plagued by controversy surrounding the quality of their products, the structure of their business and the integrity of Hughes himself. Hughes’ death at the age of 44 from a suspected drug overdose did little to enhance the reputation of Herbalife amongst its detractors, although Hughes remained a hero to the company’s loyal supporters.
Michael O Johnson Arrives At Herbalife
It was three years after Hughes’ death that Michael O Johnson was recruited from The Walt Disney Company as Chief Executive Officer of Herbalife. Johnson carried a Batchelor of Arts in Political Science from Western State College, and had been at Disney since 1986, where he worked as president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Upon his appointment, Johnson cited his passion for triathlon – running, swimming and cycling – as one of the key factors motivating his decision to join Herbalife. His appointment was a masterstroke. What better way to prove the effectiveness of your products than by showing your top man to be using them, and thriving with them? Johnson himself described the job as mixing ‘a personal passion with a business passion’.
A New Era For Herbalife
Johnson immediately set about implementing improvements within the company, nowhere less so than with the products themselves. In the same year that he joined Herbalife, the company awarded a grant to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to set up a Cellular and Molecular Nutrition Laboratory bearing the name of Herbalife’s late founder, Mark Hughes. Further, a Nutrition Advisory Board, which included Nobel Prize-winning scientist Louis Ignarro, was established, and strict quality control procedures were introduced. Johnson continues to take great pride in the science which he believes underpins his company’s products. In December 2005, Johnson’s hard work was officially recognised when he beat some of America’s best-known CEOs to win the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch Reader’s Choice CEO of the Year award, taking an incredible 55% of the vote. His vote dwarfed runner-up, Apple’s Steven Jobs, who achieved 15% of the vote, and Google’s Eric Schmidt, who gained 9% to come in third.
Under Fire: Johnson Stands Firm
Under Michael O Johnson’s leadership, Herbalife doubled its net sales, and saw its stock soar by 124% in just 52 weeks, however Herbalife still struggled to shake off critisicm about the health risks associated with their products, and the controversy surrounding their multi-level structure. Accusations of pyramid selling and suggestions that their products contained a dangerous volume of lead prompted Johnson to make a number of high-profile defences of Herbalife on, amongst other things, Fox News and CNBC. Even Ignarro’s stunning scientific achievements were not enough to shelter him from criticism, and some of the products he has pioneered for Johnson have continued to be slaughtered by critics. Johnson, however, is no shrinking violet, and he was commended for putting his neck on the block to answer difficult questions about Herbalife. He remains very pro-active in his defence of the company, and is determined to make Herbalife one of the biggest and most respected companies in the world.
Johnson: Success or Failure?
It is apparent that despite Johnson’s dedication to cleaning up the image of Herbalife, many sceptics still harbour doubts about the company’s credentials and the way they operate. Johnson, however, has won over many critics with his charismatic persona and passion for his products, and has dragged Herbalife into the mainstream, achieving a credibility for the company that many thought impossible. Herbalife’s sales continue to impress, with stock market expert Jim Cramer commenting that they continue to ‘overdeliver on their promises…every single quarter…crushing the Street’s estimates’. Johnson can rightly accept the credit for much of the company’s recent success. Where criticism does persist, Johnson’s willingness to put himself in the firing line in order to defend his company has impressed supporters and critics alike.
On his own website Johnson warns of ‘mistaking charisma for leadership’. Luckily for Herbalife, their CEO has both in abundance.
To find out more about Michael O Johnson’s association with Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr Louis Ignarro, read this fascinating Herbalife Review – The Secrets They Don’t Want You To Discover.