Andreas: Good afternoon, Larry, and thank you for joining me.
Larry: My pleasure. Good to be with you.
Andreas: Great to have you, Larry. Larry, it’s been about twenty months since you’ve handed over the leadership baton of Danaher to Tom Joyce, and I can imagine that a lot of people in and outside of Danaher would be interested in hearing what are you’re doing these days.
Larry: Sure. It changes month to month, but at a high level, I’d say that I’m spending a good bit of time with family and friends and on some personal activities like fishing. I’m headed off for a week to Costa Rica next week to go chase some blue marlin.
I’m also spending a good bit of time in higher education where I have a faculty appointment at the Harvard Business School; I’m chairing the board at my alma mater, Washington College; and I joined the board at Wake Forest University, where my two sons attend.
I’m also spending some time in what you might think of as advisory work. I’m formally on the board at T. Rowe Price, the big asset manager in Baltimore, but also helping a number of different CEOs here and there, where I can be helpful relative to the challenges and opportunities in their businesses.
Andreas: Fantastic. Well, I can imagine that you keep busy, and I certainly wasn’t anticipating that you’d be idle after your time at Danaher. Reflecting on when you first became Danaher’s CEO, how did you approach the topic of growth? I assume it was an expectation that was put in front of you. What priorities did you set for the business, and how did you derive those priorities?
Larry: Well, I think if you go back to that time period, I’m not sure that growth per se was our highest priority. We were in transition; given the early focus of the Danaher Business System was really on cost and productivity. I was fortunate in that having come up through both Veeder-Root and Fluke, I saw a good bit of our best practices, with respect to both organic growth and inorganic growth. So I think for me coming in, it was really about making sure that the team understood that we wanted to continue to focus and put more energy on organic growth, and not lose sight of what we were doing from a cost, let alone quality and delivery perspective. We wanted to not only do that better strategically, but also make sure we had the tools and processes in place to be better operationally.
We tried to reframe our strategic discussions to answer those two simple but powerful questions: what game are we playing, and how do we win; and then with those organic growth opportunities in sight, flesh out the Danaher Business System toolbox so that we could build on what we had been doing at Veeder, at Fluke, and elsewhere, to share those best practices and be better across the organization.
I would also say from an M&A perspective we were putting growth as a higher priority. So you saw us evolve over time, such that we were buying higher growth businesses and we were buying in to higher growth markets, as well.