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Maytag's Hadley Sets Course Amid Choppy Majap Waters

3/12/2001 02:00:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK -Recently reinstalled Maytag CEO Len Hadley outlined a corporate game plan before analysts here earlier this month that calls for a renewed focus on core businesses, strong product development investments, consistent brand building and financial discipline.

Speaking at conferences hosted by Salomon Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch, Hadley said, "Our immediate focus is putting together positive trend lines and performance momentum quarter after quarter that will lead steadily to value creation."

Hadley, who returned to the top Maytag job last November after his successor and predecessor Lloyd Ward was forced out by the board, said he would return the company to its strategic roots.

"Our objectives are clear: Refocus on Maytag's core strategy. We are a premium brand appliance company with product reputations built on performance and innovation," Hadley told investors.

In an obvious reference to Internet initiatives started by Ward, Hadley said the manufacturer would "refine our investments to support that strategy, which we have done by increasing investments against our traditional appliance businesses and eliminating investments in projects outside our core business."

Hadley also emphasized the need for Maytag to regain market share both in major appliances and "in the mind of investors," noting that the company has already begun to enjoy share gains this year.

The chief executive added that he expects successive quarterly improvements in the company's financial results throughout 2001.

Steven Wood, Maytag's chief financial officer, told analysts that despite an anticipated decline in industry majap shipments this year, the manufacturer has the fundamental product, brand and financial building blocks in place to support Hadley's goals.

"Maytag expects to execute more effectively in the increasingly competitive environment based on actions that are being implemented," Wood said.

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