Cutting Edge

Gillette's Journey to Global Leadership

Gordon McKibben

Publisher: Harvard Business School, 1998, 427 pages

ISBN: 0-87584-725-0

Keywords: Biography

Last modified: July 29, 2021, 9:57 p.m.

This is the story of one of the most successful — and most admired — U.S.-based global competitors in the history of modern organizations, as told by respected journalist Gordon McKibben.

The Gillette Company has literally defined the world shaving markets since its founding in 1901 by legendary salesman and inventor King Camp Gillette. But more than that, Gillette serves as a model for today's managers of how to maintain a commitment to innovation, how to advertise creatively against competitors, and above all, how to translate a consistent vision of global growth into superior results in the world marketplace.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Gillette insiders and executives on three continents, with particular emphasis on the company's recent past, Cutting Edge chronicles the successes, failures, and wretched moments in the evolution of a global powerhouse. From the creation of the first disposable double-edge blade, through the bitter fight for survival against Wall Street's hostile raiders of the 80s, to its success in the new and merging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia, to the ongoing development of innovative products, Gillette emerges as a company that has leveraged revolutionary product design with shrewd marketing skill into a premier worldwide enterprise.

Moving quickly into new geographic markets — often in the face of significant business or political risks — defined Gillette's mission in its early days, and remains a hallmark of the company's strategy to this day. With nearly three-fourths of its employees working abroad, Gillette has developed a uniquely global "one-world" marketing strategy that distinguishes it from all other international business organizations. McKibben's rich and colorful portrait will serve as an enduring lesson for all organizations that aspire to truly be on the cutting edge.

  • Part I: The Stage Is Set
    1. A Global Heritage
    2. Sudden Decline, Slow Recovery
    3. The Goal Is Growth
  • Part II: The Search for Balance
    1. The Quiet Man from Finance
    2. Are You a Steel Man or a Plastic Man?
    3. Storm Warnings
  • Part III: Fight for Survival — The Takeover Threats
    1. Ten Days of Terror
    2. An End to Gradualism
    3. The Ivy league Predators
  • Part IV: Fast Track to Global Leadership
    1. Warren Buffett Comes Abroad
    2. Countdown to Sensor
    3. Al Zeien Takes Charge
    4. The Sixth Leg
  • Part V: Gillette's Global Culture in Practice
    1. The Development of Global Skills
    2. Latin America Show the Way
    3. A Foot on the Ground
    4. The Reluctant Global Warrior
  • Epilogue


Cutting Edge

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Decent ****** (6 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 3 a.m.

A book about Gillette. Interesting.


There are currently no comments

New Comment


required (not published)