A global embrace, the merger of two giant manufacturers of similar products, creates a transnational corporation owned by an international mix of shareholders, which essentially distinguishes the entity from other less permanent global marketing arrangements such as foreign branches, offshore acquisitions, joint ventures or licensing agreements. In 1989, as chairman of SmithKline, Wendt presided over the merger of his U.S. pharmaceutical company with a British counterpart, creating SmithKline Beecham, headquartered in Philadelphia and remaining under his leadership as CEO; in an introduction written in corporatespeak, he outlines the reasons for the venture. Subsequently Wendt deals with the rationale for such mergers as a global imperative for certain types of corporations, and he discusses the demanding analysis preceding a global merger and the environment in which a transnational corporation must govern itself and be regulated by the host country. Although the book is hardly a ``how-to'' manual, managers and planners for international marketing will find Wendt's comments instructive and stimulating. (Feb.)
This has a timely, current perspective different from that of many recent books on international trade. The author, an executive working in the field, stresses the rewards (not threats) of international competition. He asserts that U.S. interests are best advanced through policies that are openly international. Much of the discussion is focused on the role of transnational corporations: their culture, structure, and management. The insight that economic interdependence internationally encourages cultural differences locally anticipates an emerging global trend. Highly recommended for academic or business library collections.-- Richard C. Schiming, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Wendt made news four years ago when, as chairman of Smithkline Beckman, he engineered the merger of two of the world's largest drug companies, his own Smithkline and British pharmaceutical powerhouse Beecham Group. Smithkline Beecham became not just a huge multinational company but rather a new type of entity, a "trans"national corporation. This small but growing number of monolithic organizations, enormous in scale, transcend national borders and wield tremendous power yet have the skills and resources to respond to localized problems swiftly and effectively. Wendt warns that few understand the potential impact of such organizations, even many of those currently responsible for managing them. Using examples from his own experience and from other transnationals like Sony, IBM, and Nestle, he details some of the effects on consumers, governments, and business. Wendt alludes to "companies that operate beyond the capacity of any one country to oversee or control." Heretofore, this has been the province of nightmarish, Orwellian novels. Wendt brings the topic into focus.
As CEO of the pharmaceutical giant SmithKline Beecham, the author oversaw his own company's successful move to transnational status, and offers an enlightening assessment of the changing world marketplace. Transnationals are equally at home in many countries simultaneously, and they plan their operations on a global scale. The author describes the nature and impact of these new organizations and offers numerous illustrations of the way various companies, ranging form Sony and IBM to Nestle, have already responded to growing global competitive pressures. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)