Buzz Abercrombie

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Buzz Abercrombie – Cultural Change at Alcoa
Buzz Abercrombie was the first speaker that was part of the Strategic Management speaker series. He is a leader in the steel, aluminum, and plastics industry and has been involved in many different parts of those industries. The main point of Buzz’s talk was to show how the changes that were made and in through the hiring of a new CEO. The new CEO was an outsider to the company – who was said to be a transparent man, with high integrity, a hard work ethic, who made fact based decisions and knew how to admit when he was wrong. He changed everything about the company from the profitability to the employee treatment and wages.

Shortly after the CEO was hired there was a tragic event that happened in Chandler, AZ where a young employee died after being severely injured on the job. This caused the CEO to realize that a quantum leap improvement needed to be taken which triggered a string of changes throughout the company. Improvements like employing a line manager to watch over employees and make sure safety procedures were being implemented and an incentive pay system modified to include safety. Oneil’s long term goal was to create a “vehicle for building trust and cooperation between management and unionized work force.” The first safety initiative lead the way to numerous other initiatives being implemented in the company. Whereas the organization pre-CEO was functionally organized, after the CEO was hired he employed presidents that were in charge of the employees that reported directly to him to ensure that the CEO was aware of all of the on-goings in the company. Oneil also redirected the company focus to be centered around the customer experience, and made sure the employees were content by expanding incentive pay to all salaried employees, with transparent payout based on results and payout conditional on meeting financial thresholds. Besides these changes, there were numerous others that the CEO employed...
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