Looking to tap into the company’s strong roots and branch out to take advantage of new opportunities, Abe Hughes leads New Holland North America with a customer-centric, go-to-market approach aimed at rejuvenating the brand.
Sit-down interview with New Holland’s leadership reveals the company’s strategy for renewal
Standing in front of the original New Holland factory, Abe Hughes makes it crystal-clear that these are new days with new ways for the company. The plainspoken maverick leader is focused on one goal: Get the company back in the game in North America.
To do that, Hughes and his team are tapping New Holland’s strong roots and marching through an ambitious rejuvenation plan. In early April, the leadership team sat down with Farm Journal to share an exclusive look at their new strategy.
With his trademark candor, Hughes refers to the 1999 merger of Case IH and New Holland to form CNH as "the big bang that destabilized our brand." And he’s not kidding.
"The momentum of CNH did not land on New Holland, and some of our focus and energy was lost," explained Hughes, vice president of New Holland North America. "We had 10 difficult years after that in what is a classic case study of a business losing its footing."
That started to change in the fall of 2009, when the top management of Fiat Industrial decided to bring New Holland back in North America. (CNH is a publicly held division of Fiat Industrial which is the world’s third largest capital goods manufacturer.)
"Senior management recognized that New Holland is strong in other regions of the world and that we needed to change things here," Hughes said.
Known for the successful turnaround of both Fiat and Chrysler, top management focused their attention to the blue brand. Hughes was brought in from business development to spearhead a team and the project. For nine months, more than four hours were dedicated exclusively to the plan for New Holland during monthly CNH senior management meetings.
"It was a very intense study of how to restructure New Holland North America and bring it back," Hughes said.
That work gave birth to the current strategy, which Hughes was deployed in July 2010 to implement.
As the seventh leader of the company in six years, the seasoned executive was not only given marching orders but also staying power from the senior Fiat and CNH leadership to re-create the stability New Holland was known for in the industry.
Five points underpin the New Holland game plan: customers; products; leadership; network and dealers; finance and profitability.
|The New Holland leadership team is working hard to make sure the company’s products aren’t camouflaged in the market. Front row (left to right): Maria Sipler, Sean Dorosz, Ken Snover, Mike Cornman, Brian Falk, Tom Catalano, Julio Garamvolgyi; on the tracks: Dan Valen; back rows: Ron Shaffer, John Elliott, Chun Woytera and Abe Hughes.
"We have to be oriented to our customers. Our products have to be competitive and fierce. Our network and dealers need to be vibrant and high-quality partners. The leadership needed many management changes. And the final scorecard is our finances and profitability," Hughes said.
For starters, the company reoriented its products and marketing toward three customer segments: cash crop; dairy and livestock; and residential, commercial, municipal and utility.
- Late Spring 2012