Mondelēz International Inc. - maker of "power brands" like Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Ritz, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Trident gum – is boosting its profitability.
Under CEO Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar is achieving “operational excellence,” and it’s showing up on the bottom line. The Deerfield, Ill.-based manufacturer of machinery and engines last month posted its the highest first quarter profit in the company’s 93 year history, on a 31% spike in revenues, to $12.9 billion. Caterpillar’s $2.82 earnings per share, 85 cents higher than last year’s first quarter profit, beat Wall Street expectations by an “astounding” 69 cents, and company executives raised their 2018 guidance to $10.25-$11.25 a share, far above the $9.27 consensus expectation. “We had a great start to the year, but higher sales volumes wasn’t the only contributor to this record first quarter results,” Umpleby said on the earnings call with analysts. “Operational excellence, which includes safety, quality, lean principles and our commitment to control structural costs, is one of the three key components of our enterprise strategy.” Caterpillar’s rise is “a management story several years in the making,” Markman Capital Insight president Jon Markman wrote in Forbes. While the company is benefitting from positive macroeconomic conditions, “the real story” is on the operational side, with the company’s “Operating & Execution Model.” “If done right, O&E should force a laser-like focus on its business strengths,” Markman wrote. “This should pave the way for profitability even when business cycles turn lower.” The O&E model is a strategic framework to identify areas of the business that either create or consume the most value, according to Caterpillar. “Using the O&E Model as a guide, we gain a deeper understanding of where we have a competitive advantage, which is key to generating high returns,” the company writes. “As a result, we allocate resources to those areas of our business that create or have the potential to create the most growth or improvement. This allows us to make swift, strategic choices so that we prioritize business opportunities with the greatest value.” The O&E model is not unique or new, but Caterpillar’s company-wide commitment to it is proving out, Markman wrote. Product quality within its construction segment has improved 40%, while assets deployed have shrunk by $3.3 billion. The company is producing more, at same time reducing the footprint of manufacturing facilities by 7.9 million square feet. In the resources segment, Caterpillar reduced its breakeven point every year since 2012, and it’s “moving aggressively” toward autonomy and electrification to streamline the product line, according to Markman. “Caterpillar is a great operational story,” he wrote. “It’s the kind of excellence investors should demand.” While Caterpillar adopted the O&E model in 2010 and Umpleby became CEO last year, he is being credited for making sure the strategy would truly be carried out across the enterprise. When he took the helm, Barron’s called Umpleby “the new sheriff in town,” who immediately set expectations on how the company would be managed during his first turn at leading Caterpillar’s Investor Day. While many of the initiatives detailed that day may not have been entirely new, Umpleby’s appointment gave them a strong breath of fresh air, and the editors at Barron’s wrote that they were confident that “management will deliver the goods.” “The difference is the new CEO, Mr. James Umpleby, who comes across as a hard charging and focused executive,” they wrote. “It is clear that he has a strong plan for Caterpillar to refocus on driving profitable growth, and that mediocrity will not be tolerated.” Umpleby has been a longtime veteran of the company, joining Solar Turbines, now a Caterpillar subsidiary, in 1980 as an associate engineer. During his career at Caterpillar, Umpleby has held a variety of positions in engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales and services. He became president of Solar Turbines and a Caterpillar vice president in 2010; from 2013 to 2016 Umpleby led Caterpillar’s Energy & Transportation business segment as group president. He’s No. 74 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.
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Alphabet is investing heavily research and development in areas of strategic focus for Google, such as search, advertising, and machine learning.
CVS Health – combined with Aetna – will become “America's front door to quality health care,” says president and CEO Larry J. Merlo. The “pharmacy innovation” company’s $69 billion deal for the health care benefits company will integrate more closely the work of doctors, pharmacists, other health care professionals and health benefits companies “to create a platform that is easier to use and less expensive for consumers,” Merlo said when the deal was announced in December. CVS Pharmacy locations will include space for wellness, clinical and pharmacy services, vision, hearing, nutrition, beauty and medical equipment. An entirely new health services offering available in many locations will function as a community-based health hub dedicated to connecting the pathways needed to improve health and answering patients’ questions about their health conditions, as well as prescription drugs and health coverage. More personalized health care experience will be delivered by connecting Aetna’s extensive network of providers with greater consumer access through 9,700 CVS Pharmacy locations, 1,100 MinuteClinic walk-in clinics, Omnicare’s senior pharmacy solutions, Coram’s infusion services and 4,000-plus CVS Health nursing professionals providing in-clinic and home-based care. The entire health care system will also benefit from broader use of data and analytics, leading to improved patient health at substantially lower cost, Merlo said. This will be achieved, for example, by helping patients avoid unnecessary hospital readmissions. Readmission rates can be cut in half if patients have a complete review of their medications after discharge from the hospital to help them manage their care at home. In addition, home devices to monitor activity levels, pulse, and respiratory rates can be used to prevent readmissions. The combined entity will be able to help address the growing cost of treating chronic diseases in important ways, he said. For example, patients with diabetes will receive care in between doctor visits through face-to-face counseling at a store-based health hub and remote monitoring of key indicators such as blood glucose levels. When needed, patients can receive text messages to let them know when their glucose levels deviate from normal ranges. As a follow up, patients can receive counseling on medication adherence, pick up diabetes-related supplies and engage ancillary services such as counsel on weight loss and programs designed to reverse diabetes through nutrition. The deal has a real chance of improving how people manage their own health – and costs, Merlo told CNBC’s Squawk Box. “The health care economy is now $3.5 trillion and continuing to grow at what everyone recognizes as an unsustainable pace,” Merlo said. “We think we have the opportunity here to begin to bend that cost curve, and at the same time help people achieve their best health. You look at chronic disease in this country today, about half of all Americans have at least one of those chronic diseases. It’s accounting for 80% of the health care costs.” Under Merlo’s leadership, the company has expanded substantially through major acquisitions and organic growth. It’s now the one of the biggest healthcare companies in the country and ranked number seven on the Fortune 500. The CEO, who changed the company’s name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health, is also noted for transforming the giant pharmacy chain “into the place to go to become healthy,” according to Fortune. Merlo spearheaded many “bold changes” under this transformation, Fortune writes, including limiting access to opioid painkillers and banning the sale of tobacco products, while at the same time becoming the fastest-growing provider of walk-in clinics. CVS’ reinvention “evolved” as the company tried to figure out the purpose of its business, Merlo told Fortune. After he took the top post, the CEO tasked a small group of employees to answer the question, “Who are we?” “They came up with a purpose. And that purpose was helping people on their path to better health,” Merlo said. “And we used that purpose as our guidepost.” He’s No. 7 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.
Larry J. Merlo, President & CEO, CVS HealthHeadquarters: Woonsocket, RI Age: 61 Education: University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy First joined company: 1990 First positions with company: Senior Vice President of Stores, Executive Vice President – Stores, Executive Vice President of CVS Caremark Named CEO: 2011
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