In the early 2000s, the Invitrogen Corporation found itself falling behind in the fast-moving life sciences tools and consumables market. The company, which had been a highflier in the space at one time, saw its stock price drop from a previous high of $98 per share all the way down to the low $30s. The company’s board of directors, under pressure from investors and desperate to correct the course, set out to find a new leader to succeed the company’s founder/CEO. In 2003, they tapped Greg Lucier for the role, recruiting him from General Electric (GE), where he had demonstrated success in establishing and growing new businesses within the enterprise.
Upon taking the helm of Invitrogen, Lucier’s first order of business was to conduct detailed analyses of the company’s product segments, manufacturing capabilities, and information technology systems—particularly those used for eCommerce. The assessment laid the foundation for an aggressive growth plan that was executed over the course of several years. The result was a breathtaking turnaround story: Invitrogen was transformed from a United States-centric market position into a global enterprise, with business operations in over 100 countries. It also bested the entire field of market competitors to become the #1 life sciences reagents (molecular biology consumables) company in the world.