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What’s it like to be acquired?

I have worked in the global chemical industry for 34 years, but not all for the same company.  I began working in this industry in 1981 with Union Carbide Corporation (UCC).  At that time, UCC was one of the largest chemical companies in the world.  However, in 2001, after I had been with UCC for 19 years and was settled into a nice mid-management role at UCC’s corporate center in Danbury, CT, The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) acquired UCC, and everything changed.  Oh man, I can remember those days like they were yesterday.


Even though Dow and UCC were similar in many ways, they were managed quite differently and had a very different culture.  I was immediately immersed in Dow’s global work processes for manufacturing and EH&S, and it was a very steep learning curve.  I distinctly remember asking myself . . . “do I really want to go through this? to learn all of these new acronyms and work processes? to start over with a completely new culture and new management personnel?”  It wasn’t easy and there were many times that I thought about quitting, but thank God I didn’t.  With perseverance, there came a time when it all made sense and soon I was back on top of my career and loving the experience.


So, in 2008, when Dow acquired Rohm & Haas, I suddenly found myself on the side of the “acquirer” and was faced with transitioning a new group of employees into the Dow culture and work processes.


Based on my own personal experiences from the Dow/UCC days, I was able to help my new co-workers from Rohm & Haas transition into the Dow culture and work processes.  I could easily relate to what they were going through, help them to prioritize their learning to the critical issues of how Dow works, and speed up their overall transition into the new Dow.  It was very fulfilling to be uniquely equipped to help in that way and I enjoyed that work very much.


What’s the point?  It isn’t easy to go through the transition phase associated with a major acquisition.  If you find yourself faced with this challenge and need help to understand the overall dynamics of this change management process, we can help.


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