MARCH 9, 2015
ANTHONY J. MAYO
MICHAEL J. ROBERTS
Caroline Regis at Excel Systems
It was Friday, June 13, 2014, and it felt like an unlucky day for Caroline Regis. As she turned off the lights in her office and headed to the company’s parking lot, she wondered if this was her final day at
Excel Systems. Regis, vice president of manufacturing, was embroiled in a controversy with some of her colleagues and superiors at Excel Systems, which had recently acquired a rival company, Gemini
Systems. Gemini’s CEO, Roger Dreanan, had become CEO at Excel. Dreanan wanted Excel to adopt
Gemini’s approach of outsourcing manufacturing because Gemini’s vice president for supply chain management, Margaret Ogilvie, had used this model to …show more content…
Excel’s first product, the Integra, used a variety of fitness software tools and social media capabilities. It was launched in November 2013 to positive reviews. Sales were, however, significantly behind the numbers budgeted in the company’s financial plan. Competitors had introduced several other, similar products at the same time, and no offering in this space was yet emerging as the standard.
Around the time that Excel introduced the Integra, there was considerable speculation that the company was readying for an initial public offering. Then, in February 2014, Excel announced that it had acquired Gemini.
Gemini was a smaller player in a narrower space: simple bracelets worn to track running performance. However, owing to Dreanan’s knack for publicity, as well as some effective marketing and promotion, Gemini had a far more widely recognized name. Its simpler product was performing better in the marketplace.
The companies did not publicly disclose the terms of the deal, but Gemini shareholders received shares in Excel, the surviving company. Whitney became Chairman of the merged firm, while Dreanan became CEO. Publicly, Whitney endorsed the deal as enabling Excel to continue its growth trajectory, thereby allowing him to focus on engineering and product development, which was his first love.