New Book Suggests Mattel, Boeing, Google, Walgreens and Time Warner Are Wobbling

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Turnaround CEO predicts bankruptcy, layoffs and downgrade surprises for 2006.

which often happens just before management blows it. There’s a growing preference for buying pills by mail. If the price of gasoline holds up, that’ll accelerate. Yet Walgreen’s strategy is to build more new stores? Go figure.

“Corporate Canaries…Avoid Business Disasters with a Coalminer’s Secrets,” just hit bookshelves, and made CEO Reads’ bestseller list in the second week of shipments. Bob Bartley, Wall Street Journal editor, said, “If managers could read only one book, this should be it.”

The book’s blog at http://www.coughingcanaries.com tells which top corporations are headed for trouble and why:

  • Mattel’s Barbie reported another sales drop. The company promoted a Fisher-Price Toys executive to fix their problem. “Wrong background,” says the blog. “Fisher-Price Toys are chunky solid, favored by Mom and barely advertised. Barbie’s thin plastic, all over TV and a fashion item with young girls.”
  • Boeing ducks a challenge. “Their next airplane, the 787, uses radical manufacturing techniques and way less metal than has ever been attempted. So naturally, the executives bolted from Seattle and set up offices in Chicago, where they won’t be bothered.”
  • “Google’s acting schizophrenic and so is Google,” he quipped. “The founders bragged about driving hybrid Prius cars to help the environment. Then they went public. Now they’re proud owners of a 767 aircraft. Does that help the environment? Are these guys saints or con-men?”
  • “Walgreen's is revered,” Sutton continued, “which often happens just before management blows it. There’s a growing preference for buying pills by mail. If the price of gasoline holds up, that’ll accelerate. Yet Walgreen’s strategy is to build more new stores? Go figure.”
  • “Time Warner’s trying to unload AOL while it’s hot. Better move fast. AOL’s ad revenues have recovered, but their customer base continues to shrivel. How long before those advertisers notice?” Sutton asks.

Other companies that face a tough 2006, according to Sutton, are Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Exxon, Kodak, Proctor & Gamble, Wal-Mart, General Motors, Ford, 3M (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co.), Bank of America and IBM.

Sutton wrote “CORPORATE CANARIES” in response to calls, letters and emails from scared employees. “Managers are biting their nails down to the stubs,” he said. “The Fortune 500 has fired more than they’ve hired for three decades. Job growth came from small business, but those little outfits are volatile.”

Review copies of Sutton’s business book are available to members of the media. Contact Gary Sutton at 858-459-1917 or garysutton(at)san.rr.com, or visit http://www.mediacorporatecanaries.com for more information.

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