Herbert M. Baum: Dial Isn't Down The Drain, Yet

Can marketing veteran Herbert Baum clean up Dial? Baum, who has held top posts at Hasbro, Quaker State, and Campbell Soup, was named Aug. 8 to replace Malcolm Jozoff, Dial chairman and CEO since 1996. Jozoff and CFO Susan Riley resigned just before the company said for the third time this year that earnings will fall below expectations. Dial's stock slid 6%, to 11, down from a high of 38 last year.

Much of Dial's trouble lies with disappointing revenues from new businesses it has launched or acquired, says Salomon Smith Barney analyst Wendy Nicholson. Those include a joint venture with German packaged-goods company Henkel to develop laundry products under the Purex name, and two acquisitions that became part of its personal-care group. Baum, 63, says it's likely those businesses will be divested.

Baum plays down rumors that Dial, which has $1.6 billion in revenues, is for sale. "Our first priority is stabilize the company," he says. To do that, he'll need to make a lot more people glad they used Dial.

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