Executive Briefings

Bad Mergers & Acquisitions Are Worse Than Bad Hair Days

Bad integrations are like bad haircuts. You hope things will look better after the blessings of time. However, A.G. Lafley, former CEO and chairman of Procter & Gamble, still can't shake the bad haircut he received by British hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, whose eponymous hair care brand P&G inherited when it bought Richardson-Vicks in 1985. After P&G discontinued sales of the products in the U.S. and Europe, Sassoon sued the company for tarnishing the brand.

Chalk up the acrimony to incompatible cultures. "If you and the other fellow have a personality clash, it's probably not a good idea for your companies to merge," Lafley explains. "Jack Welch reminded me once that one of the worst calls he ever made was buying Kidder-Peabody. Six months into it, it was clear there was a huge culture clash-Kidder was all about individual greed and making money, whereas GE was about teamwork and process control. They were two cultures passing in the night."

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Bad integrations are like bad haircuts. You hope things will look better after the blessings of time. However, A.G. Lafley, former CEO and chairman of Procter & Gamble, still can't shake the bad haircut he received by British hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, whose eponymous hair care brand P&G inherited when it bought Richardson-Vicks in 1985. After P&G discontinued sales of the products in the U.S. and Europe, Sassoon sued the company for tarnishing the brand.

Chalk up the acrimony to incompatible cultures. "If you and the other fellow have a personality clash, it's probably not a good idea for your companies to merge," Lafley explains. "Jack Welch reminded me once that one of the worst calls he ever made was buying Kidder-Peabody. Six months into it, it was clear there was a huge culture clash-Kidder was all about individual greed and making money, whereas GE was about teamwork and process control. They were two cultures passing in the night."

Read Full Article