Quad/Graphics : An Affair to Remember
"Acquisitions are just one tool in the toolbox of how to grow a company," he continues. "In a major way, Quad has created a new muscle, and that's the ability to do a significant acquisition and do it well. It's about profitable growth, not about growth for growth's sake."
If that is Joel Quadracci's legacy, he is well on his way to filling the big shoes of his father. Larry Quadracci, as he was known to his employees, was a showman of the first degree. Typically resplendent in a bow tie, he was an everyman printer who did not segregate himself to the corner office.
His drowning death in July of 2002 marked the depths of a dark period in the firm's history. Only weeks before, the collapse of a 10-story automated storage and retrieval system triggered a fire at the Lomira, WI, plant, killing a contract worker.
The elder Quadracci was a man with great foresight, who saw the importance of growth in the 1980s and the need for Quad/Graphics to "get big, fast!" in order to have the means to keep up with technology. Prior to Larry Quadracci's passing, many familiar company names had disappeared from the printing landscape, having been consolidated or—unable to make the necessary changes—closed their doors. The big players, including Quad/Graphics, got bigger.
"My father knew that you had to run a company for the day," Quad–racci says. "He wanted the core of the culture to be strong, enabling him to zig and zag as the circumstances around the business changed. My father's ability to recognize opportunity was also one of the keys to Quad's success. He had a history of looking at an economic downturn as an opportunity, because it's important not to get stagnant and scared to run the business."
Related story: Quad/Graphics : Solving the Integration Puzzle