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10 Things You Didn't Know about Crown Holdings CEO Timothy J. Donahue

Crown Holdings

Timothy J. Donahue is the current President and CEO of Crown Holdings. As such, he possesses considerable influence when it comes to containers as well as other forms of packaging, seeing as how Crown Holdings has a market capitalization that can be measured in the billions. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Timothy J. Donahue:

1. He Is an Accountant

Donahue started out in accounting. In short, accounting is the field that is responsible for making sure that interested parties have fair and accurate financial information about businesses and other economic entities that can be used to provide them with a basis on which to make sound judgments about various matters. Due to this, accounting can be pretty complicated, with an excellent example being how just the choice of accounting method for various accounting issues can have a huge impact on the final numbers.

2. He Was with Price Waterhouse

There was a time when Donahue worked with Price Waterhouse, which was one of the leading accounting firms of its times. Nowadays, Price Waterhouse still exists in a sense, seeing as how it was one of the two parties that combined to form PricewaterhouseCoopers. However, this was after an attempted merger between Price Waterhouse and Arthur Andersen that failed because of a serious clash of business cultures that has since been studied at numerous business schools.

3. Joined Up As Manager of Domestic Accounting

In 1990, Donahue joined up with Crown Holdings as a Manager of Domestic Accounting. For those who are curious, said position is relevant because accounting is very much reliant on a shared basis of understanding for ease of comprehension on the part of the relevant parties. Since domestic accounting rules aren't the same as international accounting rules, this creates a need for certain businesses to have personnel responsible for domestic accounting as well as personnel responsible for international accounting.

4. Became Controller

Later on, Donahue rose to the position of Controller, which is a natural step-up for successful accountants with a strong interest in leadership. This is because a Controller is the individual responsible for overseeing various accounting processes at a company, meaning that they have a much wider range of responsibilities than any single accountant while still being very much connected to accounting.

5. Became CFO

In time, Donahue rose higher still to the position of CFO. Some people might be confused by the difference between a Controller and a CFO, seeing as how CFO stands for Chief Financial Officer. However, there is a critical difference between the two that must be remembered. Yes, a CFO is still responsible for overseeing financial reporting. However, a CFO is also responsible for other financial matters, which in turn, means that they need a much wider basis of knowledge than Controllers. In particular, it is worth mentioning that successful CFOs must be strong leaders because otherwise, they can't actually make good use of the accountants as well as the other individuals who fall under their purview.

6. Became COO

By 2013, Donahue had risen to the position of COO. Like the name states, the COO is responsible for running a company's operations, meaning that they are similar to the CEO in that they have very wide-ranging responsibilities. However, one very useful way to think about the difference between these two positions is that if the CEO is the one responsible for coming up with the company's long-term strategy, the COO is the one responsible for actually carrying out that long-term strategy. Naturally, this means that CEOs and COOs work very closely with one another.

7. Became President

Speaking of which, Donahue became the President of Crown Holdings at the same time. Generally speaking, the President is seen as the second-in-command, which is something that the position shares with the COO. As a result, it isn't uncommon for companies to have individuals holding the position of both President and COO at various points in time, though this is by no means universal because different companies have different ways of doing these things.

8. Oversees an International Business

Given the earlier mention of Manager of Domestic Accounting, it should come as no surprise to learn that Donahue presides over a company with both U.S. and international operations. To be exact, Crown Holdings separates its operations into three divisions based on geographic location, thus resulting in what is called the Americas Division, the European Division, and the Asia Pacific Division. Each one of these divisions encompasses huge areas that may or may not be perfectly reflected by their name. For instance, the Americas Division is pretty much what it sounds like in that it covers everything from Canada to Brazil. In contrast, the European Division isn't limited to Europe because it also covers both the Middle East and Africa.

9. Leads a Company that Can Trace Its Origins to the 19th Century

Companies come and go on a regular basis. As a result, there aren't a lot of companies that can be trace their origins to the 19th century. However, Crown Holdings is one of them, seeing as how it was founded in 1892 when a man named William Painter came up with the crown cork. It is interesting to note that the crown cork was one of the earliest disposable products to find widespread success, meaning that it proved to be very influential. For instance, King C. Gillette was inspired to come up with disposable razors because his time as a Crown Holdings salesman caused him to realize the huge potential of a product that would be used just a few times before being discarded.

10. Leads a Company Committed to Sustainability

With that said, it is interesting to note that Donahue's company is very much committed to sustainability. On the one hand, this can sound strange considering the disposable nature of its products; on the other hand, this makes a fair amount of sense because of Crown Holdings's focus on metal packaging, which is made out of a very recyclable material.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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