Like many executives at large public companies, Carmelle Giblin traded down to a smaller one in order to get her first CFO job. But the cultural shift had to do with a lot more than scale.
Giblin spent 21 years at Illinois Tool Works (ITW), currently a $14 billion company, where she was a divisional general manager during her last few years. Then in May 2013 she took what anyone might call a significant risk by joining IDEAL Industries, a manufacturer of tools and supplies for installing and maintaining electrical and data communications cable. The company doesn’t release its sales figures, but it’s certainly many times smaller than ITW.
Most executives who move from public to non-public companies cite relief from the pressure exerted by Wall Street as a positive element of the change. That goes, though far more so, for Giblin at IDEAL. It’s a family-owned firm, with the fourth generation in control. A key principle for the owners is for company managers — none of whom is a family member — to run the business with an eye to keeping it viable for many more generations.
That makes Giblin’s role quite interesting. “We put together plans that have very long-term goals and playouts,” she says, “like investing in emerging markets and [investing] money that probably won’t return anything in my tenure, but knowing that this is the right move for the whole business.”
Watch the video to hear Giblin’s compelling observations about IDEAL Industries and its future-looking family ownership.