News Column

3M Reorganizes Business Divisions

Oct. 3, 2012

John Welbes

St. Paul 3M

The 3M Co. is realigning its major business units and moving some executives into new positions -- both moves that its CEO says will help better serve customers.

The move divides work that had been done by 3M's Display and Graphics business into two new divisions, and takes the Maplewood-based company's six divisions down to five total.

The five divisions will now include Industrial and Transportation, Consumer, Health Care, and two new units -- Safety and Graphics, and Electronics and Energy.

"The change is a natural outcome of our strategy to increase relevance to our customers and to broaden our presence in the markets we serve," CEO Inge Thulin said in a statement. The changes also "take full advantage of innovation and commercialization opportunities," he said.

3M previously had two businesses -- Display and Graphics, as well as Safety, Security and Protection -- which were two distinct business units. Parts of the former Display and Graphics unit are now divided between Electronics and Energy -- which will now handle 3M's optical film product -- and Safety and Graphics, which now includes 3M's commercial graphics business.

Optical film once was a highly lucrative back-shop industrial product for 3M, sold to makers of flat-screen TVs and computer monitors and installed during manufacturing to enhance screen brightness. But sales of optical film have waned in recent years as more people have flat screens in their homes and as bargain brands, with

lower-cost, lower quality components, have hit the market.

The executive moves tied to the realignment include naming Mike Kelly -- who was the former head of 3M's Display and Graphics division -- the executive vice president of Electronics and Energy.

That new division will also contain 3M's renewable energy division, which has seen rapid growth in recent years.

Julie Bushman, who had led the Safety and Security business, is the executive vice president of the new Safety and Graphics division.

The other three divisions at 3M -- Industrial, Health Care and Consumer -- remain relatively unchanged, though two of them have new top executives.

Brad Sauer is the new executive vice president for the Industrial and Transportation division, and had previously led the Health Care unit. Joaquin Delgado is the new executive vice president of the Health Care business. Mike Vale remains at the helm of the Consumer business.

In other changes, Chris Holmes was named senior vice president for corporate supply chain operations. He succeeds John Woodworth, who announced plans to retire.

Holmes was previously the executive vice president of the Industrial and Transportation business.

3M shares rose 24 cents Wednesday to $93.78.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

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