New Beatrice chairman pledges to lead firm to greater heights

April 27, 1993|By Chau Lam | Chau Lam,New York Bureau

NEW YORK -- Speaking publicly for the first time since taking over TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc., Jean Fugett Jr. attempted yesterday to erase any doubts over whether he can successfully run the food company given his lack of business experience.

Chosen to take over as chairman and chief executive three months ago after the death of his brother, Reginald Lewis, Mr. Fugett told a group of business editors and writers at a luncheon here that he was prepared to lead Beatrice to new heights, a job his late brother selected him to do.

Citing numerous experiences as a lawyer, athlete, broadcaster and newspaper reporter, Mr. Fugett said that each experience had helped prepared him for his job at the nation's largest minority-owned company.

When asked whether he planned to take the company public, Mr. Fugett said that "if the price is right, everything we have is for sale."

Mr. Fugett added that he would continue his brother's strategy of allowing local managers more control.

"We continue to believe in decentralized management, and we grant significant autonomy to managers in the field, freeing them to react quickly to changing conditions in Europe," where the operations of Beatrice are concentrated, Mr. Fugett said.

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