Phew. Did you see that blur go by? That was 2005. Blink and you may have missed it. It certainly seems to be less than 12 months since I did my last plough through a year’s worth of OPI magazines. Flicking through all the news and analysis put me in mind of an old work colleague of mine who used to insist that time was not constant and was relative to the situation you find yourself in (don’t worry, he has since received some professional help).
But you know the sort of thing – place your hand on a hot oven ring for a second and it feels like an hour, spend an hour in the company of a beautiful woman and it seems like a second. I am certainly in no doubt that time slows down when you are reading research reports and going to product launches (only joking).
So, if 2005 in the OP industry has flown by, it means everything must be going great and we have all enjoyed it? Ok, so maybe that shoots down that other theory, but there is certainly one trend that stands out this year. Almost every month has had at least one major company head bowing out for one reason or another.
By choice or not, heads have rolled and faces have changed. Just last year, everyone commented on how stable the kings of the industry were.
In the first part of the year Carly Fiorina’s fractious stay at Hewlett-Packard (HP) came to an end, while Chris Milliken departed OfficeMax in what was a rough start to the year for ‘Max which, frankly, didn’t get a lot better (although 2006 promises a fresh look as well as a fresh approach).
Hot on the heels of those departures, is.group chief John Kreidel bowed out while Jim McNerney flew into Boeing from 3M and Joe Galli left Newell Rubbermaid before its mega purchase of Esselte’s Dymo labelwriter unit had been fully inked. In Europe, things were almost as busy with Ruud Majenburg announcing his departure as head of Buhrmann in Europe, Esselte chief Magnus Nicolin heading out after sealing the sale of the century with Dymo and, most recently, Spicers’ loyal veteran Bill Armstrong signing off after more than 30 years at the company.
Of course, all those departures leave holes. And there were some notable arrivals. Mark Hurd came in to HP, Steve Odland was finally named as Bruce Nelson’s successor at Office Depot, Sam Duncan swung in to save the day at OfficeMax and Mike Gentile took control of is.group.
In Europe, Peter Ventress succeeded the very personable Majenburg, while a typically enthusiastic Rob Vale, who has formerly held top European posts at Depot and Lyreco, came in to fill the huge void that will be left by Mr Armstrong.
All in all, 2005 represented a remarkable changing of the guard for OP’s most recognisable faces. And it has played havoc with my contact book. 2005 was the year that the OP industry put its faith in new idols. 2006 will show us if they are false idols or not.
Happy New Year to everyone.