SimplexGrinnell now part of 'smaller, leaner, more focused Tyco'

The fire and life safety company also expects 'tighter collaboration' with Tyco Integrated Security
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WESTMINSTER, Mass.—Tyco is now a pure-play fire protection and security company, having just shed its ADT home security and flow control businesses. And one of the new Tyco’s key components—SimplexGrinnell, a fire and life safety company based here—expects to benefit from the ability of the leaner Tyco to hone in on fire and security.

“Being a little smaller and more focused will make us a bit more agile in responding to the needs of our customers,” SimplexGrinnell President Bob Chauvin told Security Systems News.

Also, he said, customers will benefit from “more aggressive investment in R&D and innovation as we bring new products and services to market, and they’ll get the benefit of tighter collaboration between the fire and security businesses.”

Monday, Oct. 1, marked the first day of business for the new Tyco. The company came into being after Switzerland-based Tyco International spun off into three independent companies: The ADT Corp., Pentair Ltd., and Tyco.

The new Tyco, with more than 3 million customers and 69,000 employees in 50 countries and in excess of  $10 billion in revenues, has a global fire and life safety products component and also an installation and service component.

SimplexGrinnell, focused on fire protection, and Tyco Integrated Security, focused on commercial security, are in the installation and service part of Tyco, Chauvin said. “We are really sister companies,” he said.

He said both operate in North America and have a “great opportunity to combine our efforts to meet the needs of customers.”

Prior to the split, both companies were part of Tyco International, Chauvin noted, “but the extent to which they coordinated and collaborated to meet customer needs wasn’t always consistent.” Now, he told SSN, “I think you’ll see a lot tighter collaboration and coordination where the customer will benefit.”

For example, he said, with a big health care facility or a university campus, SimplexGrinnell and Tyco Integrated Security could team up to “design, install, service and monitor all their life safety and security systems.”

SimplexGrinnell, whose history dates back to the 1800s, has about 10,000 employees and 150 company-owned offices in the United States and Canada. It’s a $2 billion business, so is “a very significant part” of the new Tyco, Chauvin said.

SimplexGrinnell employees are energized by the streamlining, he said. “It will take time to experience the full benefit of a smaller, leaner, more focused Tyco, but I will tell you people are exited about it,” Chauvin said.

He said he expects SimplexGrinnell to grow but doesn’t have any specific plans to add employees or make acquisitions. He said that expanding the number of employees at the company’s numerous offices depends on the needs of each specific market. “As each market grows, that really determines to a large extent the need to add people to the mix,” he said.

Chauvin is pleased that George Oliver, formerly CEO of Tyco International’s commercial fire and security business, is now CEO of Tyco.

“It's a business he knows [and] he understands,” Chauvin said. “He’s had a great track record of success and now he will be our CEO leading this new business. While it's a new role for him, there’s a ton of continuity in having his leadership.”

Chauvin noted that Ed Breen, formerly chairman and CEO of Tyco International, will serve on Tyco's Board of Directors, so Oliver “also has got some great leadership on his board.”

He also praised the fact that the company SimplexGrinnell is part of is keeping the Tyco name. “We think is terrific for us, because it’s become a strong name with a good reputation and it allows us to capitalize on that,” Chauvin said.