Great Expectations

Plunging profits trigger a sudden shake-up at Philips

At the annual shareholders meeting of N.V. Philips, the Dutch electronics conglomerate, President Cor van der Klugt, 65, wowed the crowd with visions of increased profits for the upcoming year. That was seven weeks ago. Less than three weeks later, the company had to admit that operating profits for the first quarter had nose-dived: an anemic $3.3 million on revenues of $7.1 billion, vs. $123.9 million for the same period last year. Management was stunned and shareholders panicked. They raced to dump their stock, driving Philips shares down 17% in two days.

Something had to go, and last week the Philips...

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