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PRINTING IMPRESSIONS 400 YEAR IN REVIEW -- Reflecting on 2003

December 2003
BY chris Bauer

Managing Editor

The year 2003 can be summed up as a period that had its ups and downs as far as the commercial printing industry is concerned. For every plant closing, there seemed to be a plant expansion project. For every poor financial report, there was a major capital equipment expenditure. Some big names left the industry, making way for a new generation of leaders. And the industry's biggest annual trade show left attendees and exhibitors with a feeling of hope.

Let's take a look back.

The beginning of the year brought with it changes to the top spots at several large commercial printers. At North America's largest printer, Montreal-based Quebecor World, CEO and President Charles Cavell announced his plan to retire as of April 2003. This set off a lengthy search—and search some more—for a new leader at Quebecor. At the same time, CFO Christian Paupe also decided to pursue other opportunities. He was later replaced by Claude Helie.

It was eventually announced that Michael Desbiens, former president and CEO of Donohue, had been selected as the new CEO at Quebecor World. This lasted only a month, and Desbiens quickly resigned, citing family issues as the reason for his departure. The company then turned to Jean Neveu to replace Desbiens on an interim basis. Neveu is no stranger to Quebecor World, having held the titles of chairman, president and CEO in the past. Around the same time, Co-COO John Paloian also departed, leaving COO duties to David Boles.

Elsewhere, after helping Moore Corp. make a financial 180-degree turn to profitability, Chairman, President and CEO Robert Burton suddenly stepped down, making way for new CEO Mark Angelson. Alfred Eckert was then tapped to fill the position of chairman. Burton, who helped triple company stock prices in his two years at the helm, resurfaced later in the year, forming the Burton Management Group.

Moore Corp. did not sit idle for long, making the first big merger and acquisition splash of the year with a $1.3 billion deal that merged the company with Wallace Computer Services to form Moore-Wallace. This was not the last time we would hear from Moore-Wallace in the M&A area.

A face from the past resurfaced in Palm Beach, FL, as former Mail-Well Chairman and CEO Gerald Mahoney assumed the role of interim CEO for Workflow Management. He was already a member of the company's board of directors. Tom D'Agostino Sr. stepped down as CEO and president, and took over as non-executive chairman. D'Agostino later resigned amid allegations that he misused company funds, and paid a $400,000 settlement. Mahoney then became chairman and Gary Ampulski was hired as CEO.
 

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