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Kimberly-Clark appoints new executives as changes to business structure loom

By Simon Pitman+

03-Dec-2013

Kimberly-Clark is set for big changes, having announced new VPs for both the North America and Asia Pacific markets, as well as pursuing a potential spin-off of its Health Care business.

Having announced in mid-November that its executive board was evaluating the prospect of spinning off its health care division, the company has also announced that Tim Feeheley will take over as the new vice president for North America.

Feeheley will succeed Richard Thorne in that position, following on from Thorne's recent appointment to head up Kimberly-Clark’s Professional division for the Asia Pacific region.

Feeheley Joins the company from JanPak, a multi-brand company providing facilities and packaging supplies across a broad spectrum of industries, including healthcare and manufacturing.

Under his management JanPak tripled its revenues from 2003 to 2012 to $240m through a combination of organic growth, acquisitions and greenfield expansions.

Lining up the spin-off for the health care business

The news comes on the back of the earlier notice that, if the spin-off of the health care division does take place in the next year or so, the newly formed business will be headed up by Robert Abernathy, who is currently the company’s president — Europe, Global Nonwovens, and Continuous Improvement and Sustainability.

Kimberly-Clark executives say that the reason behind the decision to spin the business off is because its strategic fit and position have changed since it was acquired by the company in the early 1970s.

“This move would allow K-C Health Care to optimize its performance and flexibility to pursue its own value-creation opportunities.  A spin-off would also allow us to further sharpen our focus on our consumer and K-C Professional brands,” said CEO Thomas Falk at the time of the announcement.

Health care spin-off will make way for further investment

With a yearly turnover of approximately $1.6bn, experts believe that the spin-off may bring the company roughly double that figure in a tax-free sum that could then be invested in both the consumer and professional business divisions.

So far this year, the company has announced disappointing results, citing sliding sales for its European operations as the primary cause, where the poor economic conditions have had a significant impact on the business.

For the company’s second quarter, ending in July of this year, sales dropped by 29% in European, which mainly reflected a change in the company business strategy for that region.

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