Turnaround machine Featured

10:17am EDT June 28, 2005

In 2000, Jim Reid-Anderson assumed the role of CEO of Dade Behring, which makes testing machinery and supplies for the medical diagnostics industry.

It was clear to Reid-Anderson and the employee base at that time that Dade Behring was in trouble. Reid-Anderson defined Dade's future and clearly focused the entire work force on two areas: hospitals and reference labs. More than one-third of Dade's business did not fit into this definition and was either sold or shut down.

The company was also facing a major cultural issue. It was created from a roll-up of four companies: Baxter, DuPont, Hoechst and Syva. The Baxter division was sale- focused, the DuPont group had little emphasis on sales and was focused on customer satisfaction; the Hoechst unit was driven by science and research, and the Syva group was located in California. Each of these groups was competing for dominance, and the company was headed in four different directions.

Reid-Anderson believed the only way to resolve these issues was to confront them directly with constant and consistent messages to the work force. He made a concerted effort to meet with virtually every one of Dade's 6,000 employees and explain the issues the company was confronting, and he was upfront about significant debt issues.

Dade is now a company with one culture. It has grown in sales, has healthy operating income and has grown R&D expenditures. Dade has quadrupled its stock price since 2002 and turnover has dropped.