executive Michael B. Polk as its new president and CEO, but the new chief will have to manage expectations carefully as the consumer goods maker recently cut its outlook.
Polk, 50, has been a Newell Rubbermaid director since 2009, and was most recently president of global foods, home and personal care at Unilever. He will succeed Mark Ketchum, who announced his retirement plans earlier this year. Ketchum intends to remain a director until the company's next board elections in May 2012.
Jefferies analyst Douglas Lane cautioned that Polk will have his work cut out for him in managing expectations after Newell Rubbermaid recently trimmed its full-year outlook. The guidance revision came, in part, because of soft demand in some of Newell Rubbermaid's consumer product categories such as baby and parenting.
"We think Polk will be focused on renewing growth within some of the more underperforming categories within the portfolio," the analyst said.
Oppenheimer's Joseph Altobello was more bullish on the appointment, citing Polk's familiarity with Newell Rubbermaid's portfolio of consumer products because of his tenure as a board member, along with his prior experience at other consumer companies such as
Procter & Gamble
"While we have yet to meet Mr. Polk, he was at least the unofficial favorite to succeed Mr. Ketchum among investors we've spoken to over the past few months, and so this news should not be a major surprise," Altobello noted.
Altobello reiterated a perform rating on Newell Rubbermaid shares; Lane maintained a hold rating and $16 price target on the stock.
Newell Rubbermaid shares rose 2% to $15.65 on Friday amid heavy trading. More than 3.7 million shares changed hands just two hours into the trading session, compared with average daily volume of 4.6 million.
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
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