ACS, a Xerox company (IT Consulting)

Widely affiliated

Affiliated Computer Services provides business process outsourcing and IT solutions to commercial and government clients.  Commercial business accounted for about 60 percent ($3.7 billion) of the firm's revenue in 2008, and government business 40 percent ($2.5 billion).  The primary commercial sectors ACS targets are health care, travel and transportation, financial services, communications and consumer goods.  It has approximately 65,000 employees, with 45,000 working domestically and the remainder involved in its international operations.  ACS' activities span more than 100 countries.

The firm's business process outsourcing services include administration, finance and accounting, human resources, payment services, sales, marketing and customer care, and supply chain management.  Its IT products and services include applications solutions, data center management, disaster recovery, end-user computing, network management, security services, storage solutions, technology review, assessment and planning, and transition services for human resources.  

Out of left field, or a field, anyway

ACS was founded in 1988 by Darwin Deason, currently chairman of the board.  Its humble early function was that of bank data processing, a service it now hasn't provided in more than a decade.  Deason himself comes from humble beginnings, having been referred to in a December 2006 Wall Street Journal article as an "Arkansas farm boy who never went to college."  Creating a billion dollar global company brings agreeable changes, however.  Deason hardly fits the image of an uneducated farm boy today when sailing on the Apogee, his yacht, or when entertaining in his Dallas penthouse, said to be equipped with three wet bars.  

After going public in 1995, the firm made significant acquisitions through the rest of the decade, picking up major BPO and IT capabilities while simultaneously expanding its geographic reach.  Annual percentage increases in revenue were in the double digits year after year and, by 2003 ACS had achieved Fortune 500 status.

Trying to get back in the game

Perhaps disillusioned with yachts and penthouses, Deason made an attempt in early 2007, with the help of private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, to buy out ACS and return it to private status.  Cerberus made an initial offer of $59.25 per share, which, once refused, was raised to $62 a share and also refused.  Then, in June 2007, due to burgeoning problems in the credit markets, ACS made it known that it would entertain offers from other interested bidders.  After generating no interest, the firm began to reconsider selling to Cerberus.  It was too late, however, as the firm's share price on the stock exchange had fallen to nearly $50, and in October, Cerberus withdrew its bid.

Still a presence

Though he may never again be the owner of ACS, Deason continues to leave his mark on the firm.  According to The Wall Street Journal, the residue of Deason's aggressive management style can be found in "hustle cards", printed reminders of Deason's business insights distributed to ACS employees.  One example reads (alongside a steely eyed picture of the founder): "Hard work solves (almost) everything."

It may not be that catchy a mantra, but the notion is certainly carried out within the firm's culture.  In an October 2007 interview with Smart Business magazine, CEO Lynn Blodgett cited ACS' tendency to provide "high reward for high results," especially evident in the compensation structure for top execs that makes performance bonuses a major component of total pay.  Blodgett hinted that the productivity of lower level staffers is also watched closely, remarking that no one can "Google the day away" and still remain on the payroll.



ACS, a Xerox company (IT Consulting)


2828 North Haskell Avenue
Dallas, TX 75204
Phone: (214) 841-6111
Fax: (214) 841-8315
www.acs-inc.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: ACS
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • President and CEO: Lynn Blodgett
  • 2010 Employees: 70,000

Major Office Locations

  • Dallas, TX

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