Bausch & Lomb Sales Force Reorganization
Bausch & Lomb (B&L) was in a crisis situation when Ron Zarrella took the helm in late November 2001. Following the departure of the COO in 2000 and the CEO earlier in 2001, Bausch & Lomb had undergone six quarters of restructuring and had lain off 10 percent of its workforce. A company known for cutting-edge innovation and ability to evolve to stay relevant to customer needs, B&L had become a company in turmoil. Revenue had been flat for the past several quarters with margins slowly eroding due to lack of disciplined cost management. The company carried excess overhead from duplicate departments that remained as a result of two large acquisitions made in 1997. A patent infringement lawsuit against B&L’s key contact lens product threatened the future revenue stream and B&L’s stock had already dropped more than 50 percent. It was in this environment that the Americas sales region had begun a major reorganization. Zarrella felt that he had no choice but to be cautiously optimistic. The ‘Stronger as One: One vision, One goal, One team’ reorganization had been underway for several months, merging the region’s four sales forces into one. Even though lackluster financial performance indicated the need for change, Zarrella wondered whether ’Stronger as One’ would return B&L to its rightful position in the market, or whether such a large reorganization would create more problems than it solved.