Next week's Plastics News (the Jan. 15 issue) will editorialize on what changes might be in store for GE Plastics, if the company is sold. I'm interested in how readers feel about this topic. Here's a sneak peek at some of the ideas:
The name itself is the first and more obvious. GE Plastics is one of the best known names in the plastics industry, but it would have to change immediately. If a financial buyer takes over, we'd expect something like Lexan LLC -- why not stick with the company's most famous brand? But Lexan polycarbonate is a small part of the total company. So a new owner -- at least one without a well known name in the industry already -- might instead choose to start with a clean slate. Any recommendations? Management training and succession would change, too. We're so used to the way things work at GE now, it's hard to imagine how much this change would mean to the corporate culture. Cutting corporate ties with General Electric Co. would mean an end to shuffling executives to and from plastics from GE's many unrelated businesses, including medical, lighting, appliances, broadcast -- you get the idea. That's something that has made GE Plastics unique. But it almost certainly would end. A new owner might be tempted to break up the company. Would you keep the LNP Engineering Plastics business? ABS resins? Structured Products (the sheet and film unit)? Polymerland resin distribution? Polymershapes?What do you think about these questions? Are there other changes that you expect from GE? I can't wait to see what our cartoonist, Rich Williams, does with this column. Rich has been a part of Plastics News from the beginning, way back in 1989, and he's a favorite of many readers. I don't know how he comes up with such funny columns about plastics every week. Check out his work here, on our Opinion page.