Monday, March 13, 2006

Wrigley: A New Growth Story to Watch?

Saturday's feature Wall Street Journal piece about the Wrigley Company was a breath of fresh air.

The article described the radical break from past "business as usual" management by the current Wrigley heir and CEO, William Wrigley, Jr. It was most refreshing. To judge from his remarks, as reported, Wrigley may well be coming into my portfolio in the near future.

It's always been my contention, given my marketing roots, that any product/market segment can be grown, if one is sufficiently creative. Old stalwarts of seemingly-dead segments routinely get picked off by someone with a better idea for a sleepy niche. Perdue did that with chickens, for example. So why not gum, candy and confectionary items?

The raw innovative and consumer-directed energy that came out of the new Wrigley's mouth are promising indeed. I had actually forgotten that he had stepped up to buy Hershey, when it put itself on the auction block a few years ago.

With so much dismal management incompetence to observe, and on which to comment, it's a real joy to read and write about someone actually understanding the need for growth, risks included. The real risk to a company is not growth, and the uncertainty it can bring, but the certainty of death without growth.

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