Management Turnover as Change Agent

Friday, June 24, 2011

Newell Rubbermaid Makes Wise Choice

Newell Rubbermaid NWL (NYSE), the consumer products manufacturer, yesterday announced the selection of Michael Polk as its new CEO. Polk, currently the president of global foods, home and personal care at Unilever is also a member of Newell’s board ofdirectors. Polk will succeed Mark Ketchum who was selected as Newell’s CEO back in 2005. Ketchum back in January of this year announced his intention to retire. The firm hired a search firm to find a new CEO. Wisely, the firm selected a seasoned executive familiar with their business but with experience outside the firm. Polk, who is fifty years old comes in as CEO as Newell has failed to live up to expectations. While he has a difficult task ahead of him, he has both the skills and the drive to help find ways to make the firm perform better going forward.

Earlier today,’s Miriam wrote a piece expressing concern about expectations the new CEO will create about the firm. Remer wrote,

Jefferies analyst Douglas Lane cautioned that Polk will have his work cut out for him in managing expectations after Newell Rubbermaid recently trimmed its full-year outlook. The guidance revision came, in part, because of soft demand in some of Newell Rubbermaid’s consumer product categories such as baby and parenting.

I am not nearly as sanguine as the Jefferies’ analyst quoted. Polk has a real opportunity to shine in his new position. Stay tuned.

New updated article 7/12/11 – Globe and Mail’s David Milstead – Get ready for a nice bounce in Rubbermaid shares