DONALD ROLAND -- Accentuating Solutions, Not Processes
"Talk about someone with ink in his veins," Reilly says. "He lives this business and he loves it. He's great to the people he works with and is effective at mentoring them. Donald brings leadership, commitment and integrity to the table."
Roland continued to scale the mountain, becoming president in 1994, CEO in 1995 and chairman in 2001. The company, too, constantly evolved, going public in 1995 and reaching sales in excess of $2 billion in 1999 before going private again in 1999. The following year, Roland was asked to take over the advertising, printing, premedia and direct marketing assets of Big Flower, which divested itself of other non-core business. The new company, called Vertis Inc., was based on a single platform dedicated to marketing and advertising.
|Don Roland takes his boat, the Jenny Marie, for a spin on the Severyn River. This Boston Whaler is named after his youngest daughter.|
Switching Treasure Chest Advertising to a professional management platform—an entirely different culture from the founder's entrepreneurial philosophy—was one of the stiffest challenges Roland has faced. Another is currently playing itself out at Vertis—creating an integrated advertising products and services company in a downtrodden market.
"The Vertis challenge is a book that's still being written," he states. "We've got an incredible management team that understands our vision. We inherited more than 30 operations, all with people with great pride in what they did and not used to the idea that they would become part of a bigger company. We're working with a purpose to put it all together as one company, on top of which we're witnessing the worst advertising recession since the great depression."
Roland calls the Vertis integration the "Sistine Chapel" of his career. "At age 60, it may be the last major transition of my career. This is one more transition in the evolution of a company that has gone through multiple evolutions."