*Formerly: The Haloid Company
*Year Changed: 1961
Founded in Rochester, NY, in 1906, Xerox was originally called The Haloid Company and produced photography paper. In 1947, the began to develop a photocopying machine based on a technique known as xerography, the basis for Xeroxing. In 1958, the company changed its name to Haloid Xerox Inc., reflecting its optimistic outlook on the future of xerography. Much to everyone’s surprise, including Haloid Xerox’s, the Xerox 914 copier machine became wildly popular: so much so that the “Xerox” brand became much more recognizable than “Haloid.” As a result, the company officially became Xerox Corporation in 1961.
*Formerly: Computer Associates, Inc.
*Year Changed: CA, Inc. (2006) and CA Technologies (2010)
The 1990s and early 2000s brought difficult times for Computer Associates. There were controversies involving inflated executive bonuses during the late 1990s. Perhaps more notably, an SEC investigation into company fraud in 2006 resulted in a 12-year prison sentence for former Chief Executive Sanjay Kumar. In an effort to escape notoriety, the company changed its name to CA Inc. in 2006. In 2010, it changed its name again to CA Technologies.
Nissan Motor Company, Ltd.
*Year Changed: 1981
Although successfully branded as Nissan throughout other parts of the world, Nissan products uniformly retained the Datsun brand in the United States up until the Fall of 1981. The reason for delaying the name change was most likely to avoid American hostility toward the “Nissan” brand, which was used by the company when it was a major military manufacturer in WWII. As risk of this resentment faded, however, the company’s desire for a singular global brand took over and the Datsun title was phased out.
*Formerly: Andersen Consulting
*Year Changed: 2000
In 1989, Andersen Consulting separated from its parent company, Arthur Andersen, although the two companies remained legally connected. The continued success of Andersen Consulting in the 90s, drove the consulting partners to seek full independence from Arthur Andersen and the companies broke all ties in 2000. The break gave rise to the new company name, Accenture. As Accenture, the company has continued to do well. Arthur Anderson, however, has not. Stemming from charges arising from the Enron investigation, Arthur Anderson’s was found guilty of obstruction of justice and has all but gone out of business.
Altria Group, Inc.
*Formerly: Philip Morris Companies Inc.
*Year Changed: 2003
The official reason given for Philip Morris Companies’ 2003 name change was to provide greater “clarity” reflecting the “evolution” of the company. The more likely reason is that the company wanted to escape the ugly connotations attached to the tobacco giant’s former name. Fortunately for Altria, the name change has succeeded in clearing their domestic image. Altria, while still primarily a tobacco company, no longer suffers the same animosity that was once directed at it under the Philip Morris Companies brand. However, the company does still own Philip Morris USA.