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As Wallace Reevaluates Business Plan, CEO Departs

March 2000
Lisle, IL—Wallace Computer Services has begun a review of operations following lower-than-expected earnings for the most recent quarter and the resignation of its CEO. Officials believe the drop in earnings are due to continuing softness in the high-quality color marketing and promotional printing market, as well as issues relating to the 1998 acquisition of Graphic Industries.

Wallace officials are in the process of developing an action plan that could result in a restructuring to deal with under-performing assets and rationalization of certain product lines.

The move follows the resignation of Chairman and CEO Robert J. Cronin, 55. Board member Neele E. Stearns Jr. was named chairman and Michael O. Duffield, president and COO, assumed interim responsibilities as CEO.

A search will be conducted for a full-time CEO, that will include both Duffield and external candidates, and is expected to take several months.

"I have truly enjoyed the 33 years of service with Wallace and am especially proud of the last seven years as CEO. However, seven years is a long time serving a dynamic organization and for personal reasons it is time to move on,' Cronin notes.

Cronin began his career in 1967 as a Wallace sales representative and later held successive sales management positions culminating in senior vice president of sales and marketing. He was named president and CEO in 1992 and chairman in 1998.

Stearns, 63, is the former president and CEO of CC Industries, a holding company with manufacturing and real estate development operations. Stearns joined the Wallace board in 1990.

Duffield, 47, began his career with Wallace as a plant management trainee and was later promoted to manager of manufacturing for the Business Forms Division, and then to vice president of distribution. He became vice president of operations in 1990 with responsibility for all manufacturing and distribution operations. He was promoted to senior vice president in 1992, and was named president and COO in 1998.

"Wallace's management and the board are evaluating all areas of the company and the alternatives available to us to improve results," Stearns explains. "However, we remain confident in Total Print Management (TPM) and Wallace's move into the high-quality color printing area. Results attributable to this portion of the company's business have been strong and we continue to believe that it is a key to the company's future."

"Any structural changes that we make will have no adverse affect on the TPM services and capabilities we provide to our customers," adds Duffield. "TPM programs currently in place generated 40 percent of the company's revenues last year. These large enterprises rely on Wallace and we will continue to streamline the processes associated with procuring and managing their traditional, digital and electronic print needs."
 

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