Kimberly-Clark Revamps Global Operations

21 January 2004

Consumer goods giant Kimberley-Clark is reorganising its global business in the face of stiff competition from Procter & Gamble.

The group is introducing a new structure which will see its operations split in two: one unit will oversee developed markets (North America and Europe); the other will focus on countries deemed still to be developing. These new divisions take the place of a more regional organisation.

The structure reflects Kimberly-Clark's belief that it faces similar competitive pressures across the developed world, but a different set of problems in developing areas.

"We are facing many of the same issues in developing markets: How do you drive innovation at an affordable cost?" explained ceo Thomas J Falk. "Combining the emerging markets into one division will give that part of the company a louder voice."

News of the reorganisation came as the group's global personal care boss Kathi Seifert announced her retirement. When she leaves in June, many of her duties will be assumed by Steve Kalmanson, who takes charge of the new 'developed markets' personal care unit.

Seifert's old division has been hard hit by a price war with P&G. Partly as a result of this struggle, Kimberly Clark last summer had to lower its long-term sales and earnings forecasts.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff