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UK`s Drewery spearheads ABB`s global realignment

01 February, 2001

Eric Drewery, formerly head of ABB`s UK operation, has joined the group`s executive committee where he will spearhead a major initiative to realign ABB along customer rather than technology lines.

By the middle of this year, ABB plans to replace its current business segments with four groups targeting end-users in:

  • manufacturing and consumer industries;
  • process industries;
  • oil, gas and petrochemicals; and
  • utilities.

There will be two product segments - automation and power technology - to cover all generic needs in the ABB group. The automation group will be led by Jouko Karvinen, who previously ran ABB`s drives business.

Drewery`s role - called "corporate transformation" - will be to support ABB`s senior management in implementing these changes. No announcement has been made yet about who will run the UK operation following Drewery`s promotion.

Explaining the reasons for the realignment, ABB`s new chief executive Jorgen Centerman said that "we are responding to a silent revolution in the market that is completely changing the business landscape.

"Faced with increasing complexity and speed - much of it driven by the Internet - our customers want clarity and simplicity," Centerman continued. "Our new structure will make us easier to do business with, and fully reflects our new vision of creating value and fuelling growth by helping our customers to become more competitive."

Centerman argued that the Internet has created new opportunities for companies to collaborate with, and deliver value to, their customers. "Instead of the mass marketing of the past, the Internet allows us to interact with customers one-on-one and deliver customised information, products and services on a massive scale."

According to Eric Drewery, the new structure "simply reflects our core belief that growth is directly connected to the idea that we should know more about our customers than they know about themselves".

Larry O`Brien, director of research for the automation analyst ARC, describes the reorganisation as "the first of its kind that we have encountered in the manufacturing industries". It is "tailor-made to fit he new collaborative model for manufacturing," he adds. "We expect that other companies will make similar moves to reorganise their businesses around their customers in the near future".




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