Honeywell shocker still reverberating

Last month’s shock announcement of the retirement of Jack Bolick and his replacement as president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) by Norm Gilsdorf (INSIDER, January 2009, page 1) continues to reverberate around the industry. Two key details missing from the original announcement were, first, any explanation of Bolick’s departure ― only weeks before Honeywell had confirmed that he and other key members of the HPS senior leadership team were relocating to Houston — and second any indication of where Gilsdorf would be located.

Honeywell’s response, via its U.K. PR consultants, Weber Shandwick, to our request for clarification on both issues was short and to the point, if not entirely illuminating, and will ensure that lively speculation will continue: “There’s no further explanation for Jack Bolick’s departure. Norm is currently located in Bracknell, United Kingdom, and will remain there for the time being.”

Meanwhile HPS has announced that Jon Lippin has been appointed vice president and general manager of its business in Asia Pacific in succession to Desmond Teo, who has retired. Lippin joined Honeywell in 1984 and since 2003 has been vice president of global sales for HPS. Rather than Bracknell, he will be based in Shanghai.

Meanwhile, Honeywell reported full-year 2008 sales up 6% on 2007 at $36.6 billion. Net income for the full year was up 14% at $2.8 billion. More telling, perhaps, were the fourth quarter figures, with fourth quarter sales down 6.5% at $8.7 billion and net income up by just 2.6% at $707 million.

Results for Process Solutions are not separated out, but bundled into those for Automation and Control Solutions (ACS), making it difficult to gauge the validity of rumors that both sales and profits were substantially down in the fourth quarter. ACS as a whole increased full year sales by more than 12% to $14 billion, but in the fourth quarter saw sales grow by only 3% over 2007. However, segment profit was up 12%, and segment margin grew to 13.4%.

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