Five years away from the glass and metal industry was long enough for Ted Hathaway. The former CEO of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE) retired at the end of 2017 after 30-plus years in the industry.
Throughout his career, Hathaway developed a reputation for getting results, eliciting stellar business performance and making strong acquisition choices — all combined with a great appreciation for the artistry and technology glass offers. In 2015, under his leadership, OBE purchased the assets of C.R. Laurence (CRL) in a $1.3 billion deal, the largest the industry has seen to date.
Now, Hathaway is ready for a new venture. He recently formed E.B. Hathaway & Co. LLC (EBHCo LLC), with the goal of developing new opportunities and innovation. He talked to USGNN™ about some of what he’s doing.
Q). I understand that you recently formed E. B. Hathaway & Co. LLC. Tell me about this new venture and what you will be working on.
A). EBHCo LLC is a new venture I created to formalize my goal to discover opportunities where I can share my experience and insights gained from implementing strategic innovation. No doubt that might sound like classic consulting jargon, but strategic innovation is essential to the lifeblood of any organization or business. I also am keen to help the industry accelerate innovation and help people think differently.
Q). What made you decide to move forward with the new company now and how will it be involved in the glass and glazing industry?
A). The decision to launch EBHCo was inspired by CRH’s sale of OBE. I spent most of my career with CRH where I orchestrated more than 40 acquisitions, executing the strategic development of Oldcastle Glass and its transformation to OBE. As the first vertically-integrated building envelope company, the divestiture of OBE delivered profound long-term value for CRH when it was sold for an enterprise value of $3.8 billion. So I realized I have the knowledge and unique insights that could add value for companies and management teams working in the glass and glazing industry.
Q). I know you have also been involved with Ubiquitous Energy (UE). What was that like, and are you still working with them?
A). I was recruited by the majority shareholder in December 2019 to join their board of directors. In January 2020, I joined the UE Board and expanded the role to serve as managing director, working closely with senior management on business strategy and go-to-market strategic alliances. My recommendation to pursue residential channel partners culminated in the strategic alliance with Andersen Corporation, announced earlier this year. Today, I no longer have a relationship with the management team or serve as a member of the UE board of directors.
Q). The construction industry has seen a lot of technological development and some of these advances are just starting to take shape in the glazing industry. What do you think the future looks like for those working in this industry?
A). For the better part of my 30-year career with CRH, I have had a deep passion for the glass and glazing industry — it captures the very best attributes of a healthy, competitive and transparent ecosystem. This competitive environment blends the very best of what I refer to as Economic Darwinism — where smart business practices and authentic leaders can drive the industry forward.
Change is inevitable and today there are remarkable opportunities to capture value from digital technology and accelerate product innovation by thinking differently.
By way of example, when Elon Musk chose to launch Tesla, he identified range and battery life as the strategic foundation for the successful launch of a new electric vehicle. Five short years after Tesla was founded, the company introduced the Roadster, the first entirely electric vehicle, which evolved into the Model S and became the “best car in its class in every category.” In every industry, there is an opportunity for another Tesla. I’m betting on it.