"Hot dogs with Herb," the casual, lunch-with-the-boss program that literally and symbolically ushered in a new era at Scottsdale-based Dial Corp. could soon become "Brats with Brad."
Dial parent Henkel KGaA said Friday that it has found a new leader for its Scottsdale operation.
Bradley A. Casper, president of the personal care division of Church & Dwight Co., maker and marketer of Arm & Hammer, Arrid, Nair, Trojan and other popular, brandname consumer products, is pegged to become Dial’s president and chief executive officer in April.
Casper, who worked for Procter & Gamble for 16 years before taking the executive post at Church & Dwight in 2002, was not available Friday for comment.
But Herb Baum, who turned the once-languishing Scottsdale consumer products company into a leader, said Casper is a man in Baum’s own image.
"I spent six months searching and turned down a number of people," Baum said. "It’s been a long process, but I think we have the right guy.
"We have the same people skills. We feel exactly the same about employee loyalty and running a high-integrity company. I’ve extended my contract four times to get this kind of person."
Early in his tenure at Dial, Baum, who admits to loving hot dogs, established "Hot dogs with Herb," a weekly ritual whenever he is in town. Baum would eat his lunch in the company cafeteria, inviting anybody who had a beef or an idea to share to grab a seat and tell him about it.
Baum said he will stay until the end of April to show Casper the ropes, and he will remain on the Dial board as well as the boards of two other East Valley companies, America West Airlines and Action Performance Co.
"We will be coming back," Baum said of his family, who stayed in Florida while Baum righted and ran Dial Corp. for nearly five years. "Another bad hurricane season in Florida, and we might even move back."
Baum said he expects Dial to ultimately become "the headquarters for Henkel Consumer Products in North America."
He said Henkel, which promised to leave Dial as a stand-alone operation when it bought the company in March, 2004, has already beefed up Dial’s marketing staff with a handful of Henkel product leaders and researchers. Henkel chairman Ulrich Lehner said a year ago that he expects to use Dial to make U.S. inroads for its own products.
Dial, which manufactures and markets Dial soaps, P urex laundry detergents, Renuzit air fresheners and Armour canned meats, has 2,900 employees worldwide, about 600 of them in Scottsdale, and annual sales of $1.3 billion.
Henkel, which makes and sells personal care products, laundry detergents, cosmetics and adhesives in 126 countries, has annual sales of 9.44 billion euros — about $12.6 billion — with 50,000 employees worldwide.
Baum, then president of toy company Hasbro, was tapped in August 2000 to fix the foundering soapmaker when the former management was sacked. Dial had just issued its third earnings warning for the year, its stock was plummeting and, if not exactly ready to fold, the company looked like a candidate for a cheap takeover.
Baum, who had been a Dial board member since 1997, said he’d take the helm for a year, and in that time he’d figure out what was wrong with the company and how to fix it and develop strategies for the short and long term.
He did all that and more, working a remarkable makeover that had the Scottsdale company stealing market share from behemoths like Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive.