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.
Schobel, a well-known industry figure, has been with BioLab for 33 years, and held a variety of positions during his tenure.
“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 great.”
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 said.
“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.”