The Taipan's Last Chance

Can Alasdair Morrison save Jardine, one of British Hong Kong's remaining crown jewels?

In mid-March, Alasdair Morrison gathered 75 senior managers of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd., the venerable Hong Kong conglomerate, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Macao for a two-day sermon. The message: It's time to make money. To ram the point home, Managing Director Morrison subjected his lieutenants to biting presentations by outside experts ranging from a professor from the French business school INSEAD to a Goldman, Sachs & Co. analyst. Businesses no longer will be judged on sales growth, Morrison warned, but on their ability to earn at least a 12% return on capital. Laggards will be candidates for the chopping block.

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