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McCormick taking new world view Foreign markets get new emphasis


The new world view from the headquarters of McCormick & Co. Inc. consists of three huge markets: the Americas, Europe and Asia/Pacific.

With fast-growing international business now accounting for 35 percent of sales, Sparks-based McCormick yesterday outlined a corporate restructuring that reflects the increasing importance of foreign markets. And it mirrors the worldwide trend toward unified markets such as the European Community.

"This is a key step in the globalization of our company," said Bailey A. Thomas, chairman and chief executive officer of the spice and flavorings company. McCormick had total sales of $1.5 billion last year.

The restructuring comes as many American businesses attempt to expand international markets and reduce their reliance on domestic sales.

At McCormick, foreign business has grown rapidly in recent years. International sales rose from $232 million in 1988 to $317 million last year -- not including sales from international joint ventures, which generated another $250 million in sales last year.

Until now, though, the company had maintained a U.S.-focused structure. Domestic retail operations were in one division and international operations in another.

Under the new structure, U.S. operations will be included in a division with those in Mexico, Canada, Central America and South America. Other international operations will be split between Europeand the Asia/Pacific divisions.

"We have to look at North America as a single marketplace," Mr. Thomas said, particularly in light of the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement. Similarly, Europe is moving toward a pTC unified market and there are emerging trade agreements among Asian countries, he said.

Africa was left out of the structure because "at this point in time, there is not a significant market opportunity for us," Mr. Thomas said.

Carroll D. Nordhoff, who is executive vice president in charge of corporate staff, will become executive vice president -- the Americas. James J. Albrecht, vice president and managing director of the international division, will be group vice president -- Asia/Pacific. Robert J. Lawless, the deputy director of the international division, will be group vice president -- Europe.

They will head the new divisions beginning June 1, and will report to H. Eugene Blattman, McCormick's president and chief operating officer.

One of McCormick's major foreign objectives in the next year is the acquisition of a European food company, with the aim of increasing company sales in Germany.

McCormick also has increasingly focused on the production of spices in foreign countries. In the last five years, for example, the company has established overseas facilities for the processing of spices.

As part of this effort, McCormick has created the new position of vice president of operations to coordinate manufacturing, purchasing and global sourcing. Beginning June 1, Randall B. Jensen will fill the position. He has been vice president and general manager of McCormick Ingredients.

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