Cutting To The Global Chase

With world markets merging like never before, Corporate America is redoubling efforts to globalize operations. Here are three of the latest strategies:

To save up to $3 billion a year, Ford is merging its manufacturing, sales, and product development operations in North America and Europe--and eventually in Latin America and Asia. And in a move toward a more horizontal organization, the company is setting up five program centers with worldwide responsibility to develop new cars and trucks.

Big Blue is reorganizing its marketing and sales operations into 14 worldwide industry groups, such as banking, retail, and insurance. In moving away from an organization based on geography, IBM hopes to eliminate turf wars and make itself more responsive to customers.

Bristol-Meyers Squibb is revamping its consumer business by installing a new chief responsible for its worldwide consumer medicines business such as Bufferin and Excedrin. The $11.4 billion drug company also has formed a new unit with worldwide responsibility for its Clairol and other hair-care products.