Energizer: Change Equals Results

Introduction of Ward Klein

 

Good morning. I am Benjamin Ola. Akande, dean of the School of Business and Technology at Webster University. I Welcome you to our campus. Before we get started, i would like to welcome a couple of Special guests, Ward's lovely spouse, Carol Klein, and Gerry Auger Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Energizer and member of the School of Business an Technology advisory board. Thank you for joining us today.

We are here this morning to talk about Change, BUT not just the kind of change that involves keeping up with the times. I am talking about spearheading change…leading change. That is something that Webster University knows a little about.

We aren't the oldest University in the region and we aren't the most expensive. But, we were one of the first Universities in the country to embrace education on a global scale. We revolutionized business education by combining practical applications with theory… we did it by putting business professionals in the classroom to enhance the real-world experience. Our students graduate ready for success in the business world. And I can tell you, that is a change that works.

Ward Klein and Energizer also know a lot about leading change AND When it comes to how technology has changed the way people live, you cannot overlook Energizer's innovations. Energizer's history dates back to the late 1800's when the first batteries were created to power home telephones.

Today, they are one of the world's largest manufacturers of dry cell batteries and flashlights, producing nearly 6 billion battery cells per year which are sold in 165 countries.

As a young man growing up in Africa, batteries and flashlights were as important as three square meals a day! Recently, when parts of St. Louis experienced a blackout that lasted four or five days following a big thunderstorm you can bet that a lot of folks in St. Louis quickly became reacquainted with Energizer flashlights and batteries! This is a story of a company that doesn't wait for opportunity to knock, but strategically builds a door and that is exactly what happened when Energizer acquired Schick-Wilkinson Sword.

The acquisition of Schick brought the employee population to 14,000 and added a business which traces its roots to 1921. In the aftermath of the acquistion, The shaving products group has introduced several exciting and innovative products geared toward meeting changing consumer demands.

Ward Klein knows his business. He has been with the company since 1979 when Energizer was a division of Ralston Purina. He worked his way literally to the top. He is a CEO who completely understands the marketing side, because he was there; the international business side, because he was there; the operations side, because he was there; and the expansion into personal care products with the purchase of Shick-Wilkinson Sword, because he was there, too. Ward will tell us more about how a small st. louis-grown company has become a global brand name. Because he has played a vital role in the success of Energizer, we have invited him as our special guest in the success to Significance speaker series.  

Please join me in welcoming to Webster University, Ward Klein, the CEO of Energizer.