Tossing Out The Trash At Browning Ferris

CEO Bruce Ranck is selling assets and cutting costs

Bruce E. Ranck is a reluctant dieter--grapefruit and low-cal shakes make him cringe. But at 5 feet 9 inches and 210 pounds, "I'm always on a diet," says the chief executive of Browning-Ferris Industries Inc. (BFI), the nation's second-largest waste hauler. Now, BFI is slimming down, too. After more than a decade of acquisitions-led growth, the bloated $5.8 billion company is on a crash diet. Ranck, a 27-year BFI veteran, is consolidating operations to slash costs, buying back shares, and putting the brakes on further buys. Although BFI today has the worst returns in the $35 billion trash industry, Ranck promises an overhaul that will put it at the top of the heap. "Our longer-term goal is the best return on assets in the business," he says.

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