Is Leadership a Strength for 3M?


3M is one of the great industrial companies in U.S. history. The company grew from a little-known miner to an industrial power under the legendary leadership of William McKnight, who instilled the philosophy of innovation within the company.

Clearly, leadership is important to a company as large and as diverse as 3M. In recent years, two outsiders have come in as CEOs and changed both how the way the company runs and the level of innovation. Its freewheeling nature was replaced by more regimented metrics, which made for increased margins and soaring profits. At the same time, however, organic growth slowed to a crawl and 3M's stock has gone from a growth stock to a value/dividend play.

Another CEO has now taken the reins, and he may have the pedigree to turn the company into a growth engine once again. I've taken a look at this, as well as the company's opportunities, risks, and innovation in our new premium report on the stock. Below is an excerpt. Find out more about this report by clicking here.

3M has ended an 11-year run by outside CEOs, which was a mixed bag for the company. Bottom-line performance has improved, but the company hasn't shown the ability to grow organically or develop the next great product in 3M's history.

Enter Inge Thulin, a 3M-er for life who has the company hopeful about the future. An experienced management team surrounds him with a long history at 3M.

Thulin is so new on the job that it's difficult to judge what his strategy will be and how he will affect the company. The hope is that a voice that grew up in 3M will be received more positively than those of the two CEOs who came from the outside and always had a hard time connecting with 3M's culture.

A closer look

With over 50,000 products, 3M plays a role in making everything from computers to power cables. A long history of invention and innovation has driven the company to its wide reach, but a focus on operational efficiency may be hurting the creative culture that once produced Scotch Tape and the Post-It Note. A new leader has taken over and vows to return innovation to the forefront. Does this mean the stock will become more than a dividend, returning to its former glory as a growth stock once again? Find out whether 3M has what it takes to pull it off in The Motley Fool's comprehensive new research report on the company. As an added bonus, you'll receive a full year of key updates and guidance as news develops, so don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no positions in the stocks mentioned above, and neither does The Motley Fool. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend 3M. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published