Restoring Credibility

Ed Breen, Tyco International's chairman and CEO, works to gain the trust of investors, customers, government regulators and employees.

Two years ago, when television portrayed Tyco International Ltd., a Bermuda-incorporated conglomerate, the focus usually was on the alleged misdeeds of previous management. Today, Tyco still is seen on television but in commercials that positively portray the $40 billion company's core products and services. This change is a product of the leadership of Edward Breen Jr., a former president and COO of Motorola Inc. who's been Tyco chairman and CEO since July 2002.

IW: You have said that the biggest challenge you've had since your arrival has been the process of restoring trust in Tyco's leadership. Where are you now in that process?

Breen: When I arrived [just over] two-and-a-half years ago, it was clear to me that the board of directors of Tyco needed to be changed, and we did that with every single person. And the senior corporate management needed significant change, and [now] the whole corporate team is basically new. To me, No. 1 was [getting] the right leaders in place. On that task we're where we want to be. The other area we spent a lot of time focusing on was the corporate governance side, and we certainly instituted a lot of structural change. For instance, we now have an ombudsman who reports to the audit committee. We have doubled the size of our audit team, and the head of audit reports to the audit committee. And we have a head of corporate governance who looks at all our processes, procedures, [and] delegation of authority [and] who reports to the nomination and governance committee of the board. And then what we have been doing for the last two-and-a-half years is an intense amount of training about what we want our culture to be and our governance to be like. But the fact of the matter is [in] that [area] you are never done.

IW: Why, as a part of restructuring, have you closed 227 facilities, shed 8,100 people, and sold 27 businesses for $2.1 billion?

Breen: When we really analyzed how we were going [to make the company more efficient and save money], we decided that we wanted to do a pretty large restructuring in fiscal '04 [which ended Sept. 30, 2004]. That's [when] we closed those facilities and reduced the head count. Restructuring and efficiency actions will continue in this company, and, quite frankly, will contribute a lot to our profitability over the next few years. [As to] the businesses that we sold . . . we very simply did an analysis of our portfolio and wanted to make the decision on what was core and strategic to the portfolio going forward and what potentially wasn't. When I [say] strategic [I mean] did it fit in one of the four core segments we wanted to grow long term. [Our] core [segments] are fire and security; health care; electronics; and what I would call engineered products or infrastructure services. They are great industries to be in; they have great growth dynamics; and we have a leading global position in these markets.

IW: What roles are Six Sigma and strategic sourcing playing in your building Tyco into an "operating" company?

Breen: When we say we're working to become world-class in operating, what we're doing are two things internally. We are very focused on organic revenue growth -- where can we drive additional growth in our core businesses without doing acquisitions. The second area is what I would call the operating excellence or operating intensity area. And under that falls Six Sigma, strategic sourcing, the rationalization of our real estate footprint and our focus on improving working capital. [Operating excellence] is really a catalyst, and what I would say is a culture of how we want to run this company for continuous improvement.

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