William Davis

CHICAGO—RR Donnelley and Moore Wallace have signed a definitive agreement to create North America's largest full-service commercial printer with more than $8 billion in annual revenues and approximately 50,000 employees worldwide. The combined company will retain the RR Donnelley name and will be headquartered in Chicago. Upon closing of the transaction, Mark Angelson, CEO of Moore Wallace, will become CEO of the new RR Donnelley, succeeding William Davis, chairman, president and CEO of RR Donnelley. Longtime RR Donnelley director Stephen M. Wolf is to become non-executive chairman of the combined company. Under the terms of the transaction, Moore Wallace shareholders will receive RR Donnelley shares based on a fixed exchange ratio

In May 1998, William Davis, then new chairman and CEO of RR Donnelley—one of the largest printing companies in the world—said, "In this game, manufacturing discipline will win. The craftsman who has to leave his thumbprint on every page will lose." He continued: "We are a decade behind in manufacturing best practices." His comments reflect the modern challenge of the graphic arts. Traditionally the manufacture of print has been craft-oriented, from design through to print. Designers made their reputations by creating unusual print pieces, with beautiful typography, tough-to-match colors, and unusual trim and bind requirements. Printers made their reputations by dealing under deadline with these

By Erik Cagle When your company is the largest printing communications conglomerate in the United States (second biggest in North America after Quebecor World)—in a manufacturing industry that is fourth largest in this country—suffice to say all eyes are on you. It makes no difference if the onus of an entire industry is wanted or warranted. Your company becomes a reflection of all that is wrong with the industry. The most layoffs, most plant closings, the biggest dip in year-to-year sales—if you want to know what's wrong with an industry, look for the giant with a huge target on its back. That giant

I'll admit it; we didn't set out to highlight industry trends and paradigm shifts, some that are occurring in response to our nation's prolonged economic slump. But, as various feature articles for the August issue came together, several themes permeated that seem to defy conventional industry wisdom. Here, in no particular order, are some of them: Since the printing industry so closely tracks GDP growth, it's impossible for a printer to be virtually recession-proof in a stagnant economy. If you believe this, you haven't read the cover story on Trend Offset Printing, which is approaching annual sales of $200 million this year—rising from $182

I had a call from an investment banker wanting information about the printing industry. In effect, he said: "We understand that the printing industry has a problem of chronic overcapacity, which drives down prices and makes printing companies less than attractive investments. Is this true? If so, why? Is this changing? Where is the data of printing industry capacity to be found?" What shall we say to the banker? For as long as I've been around, the buzz has been exactly as the banker put it: Excess capacity drives down price margins. Agree? William Davis, president of R.R. Donnelley & Sons, put it this

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