Jim Hagedorn, CEO of Scotts Company

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, April 23, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: On now to a story of greener pastures. Scotts, the company behind those green lawns and Miracle-Gro products handily beating analysts estimates, the stock trading near year-highs. So what is the secret to their green thumb? Let’s ask Jim Hagedorn, he is the chief executive officer of Scotts as well as a former F-16 fighter pilot.

And let me just get you in here given your background as a fighter pilot, get your thoughts on this capture of Tariq Aziz.

JIM HAGEDORN, SCOTTS COMPANY CEO (SMG): It’s good news. The whole war, I think, has gone really well. And the guy was a bad actor and deserved what he got.

KEENAN: And how has this played into your business, the fact that the war went a lot better than many people expected, consumer confidence seems to be coming back a bit, are you seeing that in your business?

HAGEDORN: Well, we had great results and our business is doing really well. Consumer take-away of our products in the quarter is up 15 percent from last year. And we had a record year last year. So I think when there is trouble and people want to spend time at home, they spend more time on their lawn and garden, and that is definitely good for us.

KEENAN: Now I’m curious, how your background as an F-16 pilot plays in your recently new role as a CEO?

HAGEDORN: I think that is a really good question. I like to run our business like we are at war all the time. And if you look at people who have been in the military, they tend to remember that. Even if it was 20 years ago when they were in the military, they’ve talked fondly about it. And that is because the experience is so intense. And we try to make the experience at Scotts really intense.

KEENAN: Yes. I have a feeling we will see more CEOs coming out of the military academies instead of the MBA programs in years to come.

HAGEDORN: Maybe we have less riff-raff in our ranks.

KEENAN: Well, let’s hope so, and less scandal. What do you think is behind your strong sales growth? I was speaking to a realtor recently, and they said that the best thing you could do to improve the value of your home is to do some serious landscaping outside.

HAGEDORN: Well, you get a lot of bang for the buck. Our average product sells for less than 10 bucks. So for 10 bucks you get a lot of bang as far as making your yard and your house look great. But the demographics are great, when people hit 50, which is the fastest growing part of our population, they tend to garden a lot more and spend a lot more money. And it is a very under-penetrated and under-marketed category.

KEENAN: Where do you see your growth opportunities going forward?

HAGEDORN: Well, in our core business, we think there is a lot of growth opportunity. We are looking at pottery, high-value pottery, both foam and ceramics. We’re looking at tools. We started a business four years ago called Scotts Lawn Service where we come to your home and do it for you.

KEENAN: All right. So lots going on.


KEENAN: I have to end it there, but thanks for joining us. Good to have you with us.

HAGEDORN: Thank you.

KEENAN: Jim Hagedorn, the CEO of Scotts.

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