CHICAGO -- Quaker Oats Co. fired three top executives yesterday, including the head of its profitable Gatorade division, as part of a reorganization by new Chairman Robert Morrison to scale back the size of the company.
The food and beverage company also said it will buy back as much as $1 billion in stock, about 17.6 million shares at Wednesday's closing price of $56.8125. That amounts to about 13 percent of the company's 138.1 million shares outstanding.
Morrison, who joined Quaker in October, said he wants to make Quaker more profitable by paring back, especially in international markets. That ran counter to Gatorade chief James Doyle's plans, analysts said. Doyle kept Gatorade atop the U.S. market for sports beverages with about an 80 percent share of it, and recently wanted to push the brand outside the United States.
The reorganization will result in a pretax charge of $15 million to $25 million.
The stock rose 31 cents to $57.75 in trading of 982,700 shares, more than twice the three-month daily average.
Other executives fired were Barbara Allen, 45, executive vice president and head of international foods, and Douglas Mills, 52, head of Quaker's North American foods business.
Pub Date: 3/13/98