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Ciba Case

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Ciba-Geigy and the Newport Investment Proposal
Portfolio planning at Ciba-Geigy From its founding in the mid-eighteenth century through the 1970s, Ciba-Geigy, Switzerland’s top chemical and pharmaceutical company, had evolved to include chemicals, dyes, pharmaceuticals, crop protection and animal health businesses. From the 1980s Ciba-Geigy used corporate portfolio planning to steer the corporate portfolio. The goal of corporate portfolio planning was to improve the process of resource allocation and performance assessment. The main idea was to differentiate the businesses – to give them different objectives, different types of managers, and to allow them to adopt the organization structure that was appropriate for each business. Before that, Ciba-Geigy had relied primarily on case-by-case discussions rather than formal guidelines to determine resource allocation in the corporation. Portfolio planning became part of the formal strategic planning system in 1984, with the introduction of annual strategy meetings with individual divisions. In August of each year, every unit was required to come before Ciba’s executive committee (CEC) to review its strategic plan, whose goals and performance objectives were determined by its role in the portfolio. For example, ‘growth’ divisions would have other objectives than ‘core’ divisions. The CEC sought confirmation that assumptions, objectives, and strategies were still valid and resource requirements still the same. Once the CEC had reviewed each strategic plan individually, its members would then meet in seclusion to evaluate the portfolio as a whole for overall balance. With the method for portfolio planning in place, Ciba-Geigy turned its attention to portfolio balance and diversification. The company diversified into physical science, acquiring the Spectra-Physics laser company in 1987, to deal with a less attractive…...

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