My grandfather would lie on the ground, pretending to be dead. As we approached, he would jump up and run after us. We pretended he was a zombie and that, if he caught us, he would convert us. How this game must have looked to others — a bunch of kids being chased by a 70-year-old man pretending to be a zombie. I can still see my grandfather laughing along with us.
Anthony Faxas, senior director of Tax and Treasury for Tyco International, fondly recalls the infectious energy of laughter experienced as a child playing with his friends and grandfather. Now, Faxas strives to bring a similarly contagious positive energy to his job, as a leader of more than 135 people who has responsibility for an annual budget of $8.4 million.
“A person can choose to channel energy to cause either a positive or negative reaction,” Faxas explains. “If I can positively direct my energy to someone or something, I can generate a positive reaction. That will continually flow and, one hopes, produce another positive reaction.”
The energetic approach Faxas takes to leadership manifests in quantifiable ways, observes Michele Kirse, vice president of Finance and North America Regional Controller at Tyco. “His positive attitude and inclusive behavior have developed a culture that inspires others to always strive to do their best,” she explained, when nominating Faxas for the Eagle Award. “Anthony is committed to the growth and development of not only himself but of all of his team members.”
Faxas plays a vital part in Tyco’s management of capital resources and its fulfillment of obligations as a corporate taxpayer. Faxas is responsible for ensuring that Tyco complies with jurisdictional tax laws within North America, for example, and he also supports the field organization with its cash-management needs.
In 2010, Tyco embarked on a global transformation of the Controllership Organization — of which the Tax and Treasury Operation is an important component. Part of the objective was to create Centers of Excellence by leveraging best practices, streamlining processes, and reducing costs. Faxas has a leading responsibility in the effort to transfer Tax and Treasury operations located throughout North America to one Shared Service Group. “In order to accomplish this initiative,” says Faxas, “I’ve had to improve and/or develop my project-management and interpersonal skills.”
A key part of his role is to motivate others to embrace and act on this transformation initiative, but, while in college, Faxas learned more than accounting. He got a wonderful education in diversity which has helped him become a more effective and influential leader in the corporate world.
“The experience of going to school in New York City was incredible,” explains Faxas, who is originally from Montvale, New Jersey — a town with a population of about 7,000 people. “The most amazing part was living in a dormitory with 30 foreign-exchange students. We had students from Sri Lanka, Iceland, China, India, Brazil, France, England, and other places — and my roommate one year was from Morocco.”
He continues to value relationships, he says, as a success strategy and leadership principle. “I believe in surrounding myself with topnotch people, because they produce great results, and we inspire each other to continually raise the bar.”
Outside of work, Faxas is passionate about adventure sports like whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and mountain biking. “I’m a fairly casual person at work and at home,” he says, “but, when I’m with nature, I let my adrenaline run wild — that’s balance for me.”
CareerFOCUS Magazine and the National Eagle Leadership Institute® salute 2011 Eagle Award winner Anthony Faxas.