Shortly after Ravi Saligram took charge of the company that makes Sharpie markers and Graco strollers, he offered his new staff a blunt message: “no bastards,” read a slide shown to about 30,000 employees around the world.
It was 2019 and Newell Brands Inc. was riddled with debt, lost revenue and struggled through yet another restructuring.
At a town hall-style meeting at the company’s Atlanta headquarters, he explained his management philosophy. It was a typical fare until Mr. Saligram, the former CEO of OfficeMax and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc., flipped to a list of its key principles – starting with its PG-13 edict.
“I was surprised,” recalls Lisa McCarthy, an executive who attended. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is a different way of doing things.’ ”
Mr Saligram, 65, says the mandate is as serious as reducing debt and boosting sales, which have improved dramatically during his tenure. The company’s stock price has risen about 33% since he became CEO, more than other consumer products companies in the same period.