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Bayer Puts Perspective to New Management Plan

Pamela Smith
By  Pamela Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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A new consumer-focused approach to business is being deployed at Bayer, and a few details are beginning to come into focus. (DTN file photo by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Bayer rolled out more details of a new business plan during a webinar on Friday, Feb. 9.

The information followed a mid-January announcement that the company would be restructuring its business units. That initial announcement indicated Bayer was implementing broad changes in operating structure that could include significant staff reductions. Find that release here:….

Called "Dynamic Shared Ownership," the restructure will be aimed at reducing bureaucracy within the management structure with an eye on accelerating decision-making by focusing on customer wants and needs, according to Bayer CEO Bill Anderson. The name of the new management strategy is one he coined himself, he said.

Anderson called it a "re-imagination of the way a multinational company can operate."

"We're moving at unprecedented speed and scale, with the goal of getting Bayer back to delivering more productive, mission-focused work, world-leading innovation and superior financial results," Anderson said.

A November 2023 quarterly earnings call gave a heads-up that Bayer was exploring changes. Anderson said at that time the company had assembled a team -- including financial advisers from outside the company -- to reevaluate restructuring options. Find DTN's reporting here:….

Some investors have called for Bayer to split off divisions to help pay down debt. So far, the company appears focused on management restructuring. During the webinar, Heike Prinz, member of the board of management of Bayer AG, who is also the chief talent officer and labor director, said the company has about 100,000 employees worldwide.

An exact number of layoffs was not indicated, but Anderson said more details would come on March 5 during a corporate earnings call. In the January press release, Bayer stated the job cuts are to be implemented swiftly during the coming months and completed by the end of 2025 at the latest.

During the webinar, Anderson repeatedly stressed bringing the customer and Bayer employees closer together and eliminating middle management bottlenecks.

"It is a fundamental redesign from management to mission, from alignment to action, from CEO to customer," Anderson said. Drilling down to what that means, he noted that decisions are typically made at the top of a big functional pyramid that can be levels of management deep that makes compromise and decisions difficult and often lengthy. "But by then, months have passed, and the competition has already taken off and done the deal ..."

Instead, he said this new strategy turns thinking on its head and starts with the customer deciding marketing strategy. "It's not about making the boss happy, but to give the customer the best possible product," he said. More specifically, new tactics include moving from an annual planning cycle to a rapid 90-day plan cycle to increase the company's agility and faster decision-making.

While short on specific details of what it would mean to the Crop Science Division, Sebastian Guth, president of Bayer U.S. and U.S. Pharmaceuticals, said during the question-and-answer session that the strategy is already being tested in Illinois and Wisconsin. Indications are farmers can expect to see more geography-based decision-making with the new management structure.

Guth said the goal is to customize the way farmer customers are served. "They should feel like the organization is designed around them and what they need for their farms. That's our goal, and we are really excited to continue to evolve that model," Guth added.

Litigation has continued to haunt the company since it acquired Monsanto in 2018. Find DTN's coverage of a recent lawsuit over Roundup herbicide here:…

On Feb. 6, an Arizona court vacated the registrations for dicamba herbicides specific for use in Xtend cropping systems. Find that DTN article here:…

In early January, Bayer announced key leadership changes are coming to their Crop Sciences Division on March 1, 2024. Find the DTN story on those changes here:…

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