Big changes are afoot at BioLab.
The Lawrenceville, Ga.-based chemical manufacturer has revamped its internal structure and ushered in a new management team.
“Our business has been challenged, along with the rest of
the industry, and we are trying to continue to grow and keep up
with the changing economic landscape,” said David Dickey,
group president, performance products for Chemtura,
BioLab’s parent company. “We decided to go with an
integrated business structure.”
Three managers are no longer with the company: Kim Nicholson,
group president; Angela Whalley, vice president of global
marketing; and CFO Sanjay Patel.
Instead, BioLab now is organized into two divisions, each with
its own leader. John Viner will oversee the “mass”
side, handling the company’s big-box customers, while the
dealer base, or “pro” side, will be managed by Charlie
Schobel, a well-known industry figure, has been with BioLab for
33 years, and held a variety of positions during his
“We selected Charlie because of his experience and ability
with customers,” Dickey said. “He will help us continue
our focus on customer service, which is what made BioLab
For many, the move didn’t come a moment too soon. BioLab
has seen a number of leadership changes in the past few years, and
the lack of a consistent presence at the helm — along with
aggressive price hikes and a controversial move away from
distribution — may have adversely affected the
company’s standing in the industry.
“There have been a lot of price increases and changes at
the top. So we’re thinking, ‘What’s
next?’” said Brian Quint, president of Seattle-based
Aqua Quip, a
longtime BioLab customer.
But Quint stated that if anyone can add the luster back to
BioLab’s image, it’s Schobel.
“I have a lot of confidence in Charlie and think this is a
move they should have made several years ago,” he
“Charlie comes from an environment where BioLab [served
as] a value-added partner,” he explained. “The company
positioned itself to be more than a vender.
Instead, it was a key strategy partner and an integral part of
your business. [Management] did a great job, and did it with
honesty and integrity.
“That was how the team of yesteryear built their
business,” Quint said, “and people would become almost
emotional about their supplier relationships.”