Jim Hodge is one of those guys who sees the glass as halffull. He joined CA Technologies as treasurer in the fall of 2007,after serving as assistant treasurer at AT&T. That meant Hodgearrived in time for the financial crisis and stock market crash,but he saw the crisis not as bad luck but as a challenge and anopportunity.

When the crisis hit in 2008, Hodge and the top managers of NewYork-based CA, an IT management software and solutions company,decided to bolster the company's credit profile by moving it from ajunk rating to investment grade. That meant reducing CA's leverageby more than $1 billion—no small task for a company that had only$4.2 billion in sales that year.

“We decided to retire our senior debt,” Hodge recalls. “Weactually bought back some of our debt early between 2008 and 2010.”Over that period, he says, the company paid off a maturing $460million note in cash. It refinanced a $500 million note and paidoff a $750 million credit facility by issuing $750 million in newdebt.

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