Continuing our discussion of management, worldwide (see Friday’s posting, “A 93-Year Way of Managing Things”), Nestle SA, based in Switzerland, has a new CEO who is doing well at making changes and boosting growth at the company.
Mark Schneider was appointed as CEO eighteen months ago and has efficiently gone about the business of turning the company around. He has sold some of the Nestle business segments including its Gerber life insurance business and the U.S. confectionary holdings and is in discussions to determine the usefulness of continuing to hold a stake in the French cosmetics company, L’Oreal. Schneider has recently said that his change strategy can be described as “a movie, not a snapshot,” and he has hinted that his movie is one in which the plot is constantly evolving. As a result, he has determined that the right course is to put greater emphasis on nutrition, pet care, coffee and water and to increase efforts to boost sales from Nestle’s portfolio that includes Nescafe coffee, Poland Spring water and DiGiorno pizza. He spends much of his time on the road, sometimes heading out on short notice to visit one of the 190 countries where Nestle sells its products. Earlier in the year, he shuttled between Seattle and Switzerland in order to wrap up a deal for Nestle to begin selling Starbucks coffee and tea products in retail and grocery establishments. Having “done the deals” for an interim [that also include stakes in Sweet Earth (vegetarian foods), Atrium Innovations (vitamins), Blue Bottle (coffee), and Freshly (a subscription meals startup)], he indicates that his main focus currently is on cost cutting both by eliminating duplication as well as facilitating quicker launches of the products that are developed in response to evolving consumer preferences. His changes, to date, have been well-received by analysts in the marketplace. Another example of well-executed corporate changes.