SPINNING AWAY

AT IMATION, ONE OF MANY BUSINESSES CAST OFF BY CORPORATE PARENTS, EMPLOYEES STRUGGLE TO RE-CREATE A COMPANY

To 12,700 of the 70,000 3m employees who received it last year, the blandly worded letter spelled doom. They were about to be spun off to a new company being formed around 3M's money-losing data storage and medical imaging divisions. The outcasts would have to teach those old dogs some profitable new tricks. The outfit's products, ranging from floppy disks to X-ray film and magnetic resonance devices, were well regarded but caught in viciously competitive markets. When Gallup polled the spun-off workers about their fate, typical responses included "shocked," "betrayed" and "apprehensive."

There was, in truth, plenty to be scared about....

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