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ABB shifts focus from technology to customers

ABB building in Baden

(Keystone Archive)

The ABB technology group, based in Zurich, has announced sweeping changes to its management, with six new faces among the 11 executive committee members.

The company also announced it was transforming its worldwide enterprise around customer groups, rather than technologies.

The realignment was announced on Thursday by Jörgen Centerman, who took over as president and chief executive officer on January 1.

An ABB statement said the aim was to boost growth by helping its customers become more successful in a business environment of accelerating globalisation, deregulation, consolidation and e-business.

It said the transformation would not incur any restructuring costs and would be implemented in most markets by the middle of the year.

ABB said it was the first in its industry to fully organise around customers rather than technologies.

The statement added that its four customer segments - Utilities, Process Industries, Manufacturing and Consumer Industries, and Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals - would provide end users with faster and easier access to the full range of ABB's products and services.

A new division - New Ventures - has been created to promote new businesses.

"New technologies continue to be a key driver of growth for us," said Centerman. "Our research and development organisation therefore remains critical. In addition, we're setting up New Ventures to identify, invest in and to accelerate the development of new businesses opportunities."

He added that ABB was responding to a "silent revolution" that was completely changing the business landscape.

"Faced with increasingly complexity and speed - much of it driven by the Internet - our customers want clarity and simplicity. Our new structure will make us easier to do business with and fully reflects our new vision of creating value and fuelling growth by helping our customer become more competitive," he said.

At its annual news conference on February 13, ABB will present its financial results for 2000, according to the United States' Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP).

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