I suggested in an earlier post that my employer, NewEnergy Associates, was likely to have a new stakeholder in the near future. Well, that future is now. Our former parent company, Siemens, sold the company to a corporation named Ventyx. A press release describing the deal was released to the public yesterday, so I am now able to discuss it and its particulars freely.

The name of our new parent company is kind of a joke. In the company meeting where we were formally informed of what was happening, their CEO admitted that they tried to think of all sorts of meaningful and/or clever company names, but everything they could think of was already taken. So they just made up a word. Today we received word from marketing folks at Ventyx trying to explain or justify the name. It was stereotypical marketing silliness. In short, it’s just a made-up word: it means nothing. The great brains that thought up the new name made the poor marketing department think of some way to explain it. It’s no wonder that marketing folks occasionally get a bad rep: they are sometimes asked to do the lamest things by company “leadership”.

Ventyx is a combination of several companies – primarily Indus and MDSI, but a couple of other smaller companies, too. A private equity firm bought these companies and consolidated them into Ventyx. They also made up that name. Why not just call it Supercalifragilistica? (By the way, I’m trademarking the name Supercalifragilistica – so if I ever buy a company and feel like changing their name, I’ll already know what to call it).

Ventyx recently acquired a competitor of ours: Global Energy Decisions. Everyone at NewEnergy suggests that they peddled inferior products, but a few stats indicate that they had more customers, had twice as many employees, and brought in over twice as much revenue as NewEnergy. Perhaps it is a case where the best product doesn’t necessarily win the business – like the fact that everyone admits that McDonald’s does not make the best burgers, but that hasn’t stopped them from selling more of them than anyone else in the world. Or perhaps they have other applications for different niches which have worked to their advantage. Either way, I’ll side with my coworkers and suggest (maybe “hope” is a better word) that our products are better. If, in fact, they are then that will aid our part of the new organization greatly when it comes to consolidating the product offerings of both companies and eliminating overlap. Only time will tell which of the two groups will contribute the most to our new “best of breed” salvo..

So now Ventyx owns our products and those of a competitor. The move seems to make lots of business sense. But will it work to the benefit of us employees? Regardless of the comforting attempts made by our upper management, I think the answer to that question is still up in the air.

At this point I wonder if shares in the company would have made better bonuses than the tiny cash bonuses paid out by our existing incentive compensation plan. Those would have cost the company next to nothing at the time, but might have brought about decent returns when the whole company changes hands (though they certainly wouldn’t have stopped people from complaining about their bonuses). From what I have heard, this practice was done, at least on occasion, when the company was privately owned by “the three”: Mark Hackett (a college friend of my dad’s by strange coincidence), Jesse Davis, and Deane Price. Of those three, only Deane remains. She is the President and CEO of NewEnergy, and she will be the General Manager overseeing the new organization which combines NewEnergy and GED. Having her in that position is probably quite fortunate for our part of the company.

Now is probably a good point at which to tidy up my dull and long-winded rant. In conclusion: things are likely to be extremely uncertain and chaotic at work for at least a month, likely for three to six months. I don’t expect the uncertainty to completely expire for at least nine months to a year. And hopefully anyone at Ventyx who catches wind of my blog will be merciful. After all, less than a dozen people actually read it, I’ve not said much that wasn’t already public domain, and I’m not trying to suggest that there is anything wrong with them – except for their name.