Pelco CEO promoted to EVP of Schneider Buildings biz

Move part of growth strategy that include acquisitions, alliances
Thursday, July 15, 2010

CLOVIS, Calif.—Pelco CEO Dean Meyer has a new job: executive vice president, Buildings Business, at Schneider Electric, where he’ll be responsible for day-to-day operations of one of five business centers at the global firm. Meyer’s role at Pelco will not be replaced, which emphasizes, he said, the tighter integration that Pelco will have with the Buildings business. Further, he said, this will allow Chris Curtis, president and CEO of the Buildings Business, to be more strategic. “It’s very clear,” Meyer said, “that part of this move is to free up resources to go focus on some M&A activity and alliances, and that’s all predicated on the fact that we want to grow and be pretty bold in our growth and scale in the next few years ... That’s energy and security both. It’s more about figuring out the gaps in our strategy and going out to see the candidates that might fulfill that vision.”

The move, said Meyer, “reinforces the true pillars of the Buildings Business strategy,” a three-pronged approach that includes energy, security, and the convergence of Schneider’s many product divisions, from power supplies to data centers. Where Schneider is perhaps known most for its work in energy, “this says it’s not just energy,” Meyer said. “It heightens the awareness that security is as critical to building owners and operators as energy management in the global marketplace.”

Meyer emphasized, however, that Schneider will maintain a specialized channel for Pelco video products, that all of the sales people and service people whom current customers normally interact with will remain in place, and that the Pelco brand will not be affected in any way.

However, expect a more concerted effort on Pelco’s part to emphasize its place in a much larger organization. “You may see at trade shows,” said Herve Fages, Pelco head of global marketing, “other Schneider products, like access control, integrated into the booth, some things we haven’t done in the past. Clearly, up to now we haven’t really done that, but we believe that’s a key benefit for Pelco as well as for the customer, to show a more global approach to solutions.”

And what of worries from dealers about channel conflict? Will this tighter integration mean trouble for the competitors of Schneider’s integration business? Meyer said that was a fear three years ago, when Pelco was acquired, but that those fears have mostly been allayed by Scheider’s attention to that concern. For instance, Pelco has instituted a project registration program, that allows dealers to claim jobs, “and we treat a Schneider branch no different than an independent integrator,” Meyer said. Further, said Fages, there is little overlap between the work being pursued by Pelco’s typical dealer and the larger, enterprise-wide jobs bid on by Schneider.

“Typically,” said Fages,” those are bigger deals where video is just a small part. Where, for the dealers, video is the whole project.”

This integration of Pelco into the larger business is something that’s been in the works since day one of the acquisition, says Meyer, “but we had some challenges to face before we could get there. We had to be more global. We had to deal with the recession, unfortunately. And we had to migrate from a strong analog company to being strong in both analog and IP. And now we’ve passed those hurdles and we can move forward.”