Milling & Baking News - June 5, 2018 - 20
Pursuing stability through
change at The Andersons
Continued from Page 1
Andersons from positions at Cargill.
Mr. Blair came from Intrepid Potash, Inc.,
another fertilizer business. Mr. McNeely
came from FreightCar America, Inc., a
railcar manufacturer, succeeding Rasesh
Shah, a 40-year veteran of The Andersons. Mr. Irmen was promoted after holding multiple positions within the company the previous 30 years.
In November 2015, Mr. Bowe succeeded as c.e.o. Michael J. Anderson, who had
been with the company since 1978 and
had been c.e.o. for 17 years.
Buoyed by a boom in the ag and ethanol markets, shares of The Andersons
more than tripled between 2011 and 2013
to more than $60 a share, and then fell to
a low of just over $23 in February 2016.
The share price has recovered somewhat,
closing recently at $32.70.
"The grain business went from a great
period to a tough period, but it was not just
grain for us," he said. "It was fertilizer, grain
and ethanol (that) all underperformed
here in the last couple of years. So, we're
looking for how we can improve the bottom line of the company, and we are asking our leadership team to be change
agents. Not that we were broken or had a
a lot of great tradition and culture that
stem from those early family values," Mr.
Beyond this change at the top, The Andersons is in the midst of something of a
generational change, Mr. Bowe said. About
half its workforce of more than 1,800 has
been at the company for less than five years.
But long tenures have been the norm.
"We have several 40-year employees,"
he said. "People generally stay here for
most of their careers, which is something
we are very proud of. We've had a lot of
change recently, but it was a bit of a timing issue. We had eight or nine of the
corporate leadership team members that
have changed. It's a bit of a natural progression that happens with companies
Newcomers to the leadership team
include Corey Jorgenson, president
of the Grain Group; Valerie Blanchett,
vice-president of human resources; Jeffrey Blair, president of the Plant Nutrient Group; Joseph McNeely, president
of the Rail Group; and Michael Irmen,
president of the Ethanol Group. Mr. Jorgenson and Ms. Blanchett joined The
Patrick E. Bowe
20 / June 5, 2018
Milling & Baking News
catastrophe. It was just that times were
tough. I imagine the other ag companies
would tell you something similar. So we've
been in more of a turnaround mode."
The Andersons' roots date back to the
1940s when Harold and Margaret Anderson opened a grain elevator in Maumee. The business grew initially through
the addition of grain storage as well as
expansion into fertilizer blending and
the opening of a retail store. Additional
grain handling and fertilizer facilities
were added in the 1960s and 1970s. In
the 1980s, outside directors joined the
company's board of directors, and in the
1990s its shares were listed on the NASDAQ exchange with the majority of the
board comprised of independent directors. Also during the 1990s, the company
entered the rail car leasing business, and
in the 2000s, into the ethanol business.
While the overall structure of The Andersons business remains nearly the same
as when Mr. Bowe became c.e.o. in late
2015, change has been instituted across
several aspects of the business.
"We have put in place something I call
the 5 P's," he said. "Everybody reports on
those every month."
The "P's" include Personal Safety, People, Partner of Choice, Productivity and
"I have had lots of exposure to plant
operations throughout my career and am
highly focused on creating a safe workplace," he said. "We had a 32% reduction
in reportable injuries the first year, and
now we've just finished the second year
with another 46% reduction."
A behavioral-based safety program
has been implemented, and that program has helped employees identify
ways to improve work processes across
The company's second P is "People,"
with a stepped-up focus on succession
planning and career development. The
Andersons has created detailed succession plans across the company. The
Andersons also has updated its development plan process for career advancement for all employees.
"Partner of Choice" has been a third
area of focus at The Andersons. While
Mr. Bowe said the company had a long
history of serving the customer, he is
seeking to build on this heritage with
more advanced tools. On the grain side,
as an example, the company looks to
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