With sadness, we remember Carl Bennett, retired Senior VP of Sales & Administration and a former member of our board of directors, who passed away from cancer on Saturday, January 21.
Carl Bennett, a man instrumental in the startup and spectacular growth of Quad/Graphics, passed away on Saturday, January 21, after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 70 years old.
In an email to employees, Joel Quadracci, President & COO, relayed news of Carl’s death, saying: "For those of you who had the honor of knowing Carl – and I emphasize the word honor – he was an incredible businessman and human being, and he will be missed beyond words."
Carl joined Quad/Graphics on May 1, 1977, as the executive in charge of Accounting and other Administrative departments, and then later took over the Sales function, his true passion. At the time he joined the company, Quad/Graphics was a virtually unknown printer with sales totaling $11 million. Under Carl’s sage leadership, sales blossomed, and by the time he retired as Senior Vice President of Sales & Administration in 2002, Quad/Graphics was a printing powerhouse (No. 3 in the nation) with nearly $1.8 billion in sales.
A gifted businessman, Carl also guided the strategic growth of our company as a member of the board of directors, serving from June 1993 until April 2003.
Answering the Call
Although Carl officially joined Quad/Graphics nearly six years after we first launched operations, he was actually involved with the business from the very beginning and, therefore, is considered a founder of the company.
Carl had been a confidant of Company Founder Harry V. Quadracci's since the late 1960s when they worked together at printer W.A. Krueger Co. Carl was the Wisconsin division controller; Harry, the general manager of the Wisconsin division and a vice president. When Harry left W.A. Krueger Co. in 1969, he and Carl remained in contact. In fact, Carl created the original financial projections for starting Quad/Graphics.
As the two men went over the projections one cold winter day in 1970, Harry told Carl that even if he could get the company going, he couldn’t afford to hire Carl right away, but that someday he should expect a call. In early 1977, just after signing our first contract with Newsweek magazine, Harry called Carl from New York City, simply saying, "Carl, it’s time."
By then, Carl was director of manufacturing at Simplicity Pattern in Niles, Mich. Eager to once again work with Harry, Carl packed up his wife, Marlys, and their daughters and moved back to Wisconsin to help grow the business.
Immediately, employees and clients found Carl to be a man of intelligence, integrity and compassion.
"It wasn’t long before everyone recognized Carl’s great sense of humor, patience, empathy and business acumen, and there was always a line outside his door," Jeanne Kuelthau, retired Corporate Secretary, once said.
At the time of Carl's retirement, Angelo Rivello, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Manufacturing & Distribution for Newsweek, said: "Carl is a man of his word and helped make some wonderful things happen for both Quad and Newsweek."
A Time to Remember
Carl leaves behind his wife Marlys to whom he was married for 50 years as well as his daughter Susan; his daughter Lisa and her husband Tad and their three children Bennett, Steven and Lauren; and his daughter Sara and her husband Mark. Sara worked for Quad/Graphics for 10 years in Imaging Customer Service before moving to Appleton, Wisconsin, in 2003.
Funeral services for Carl were held on Wednesday, January 25, at Wisconsin Memorial Park Chapel of the Chimes.
Contributions can be made out to PanCAN, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, or to the Inpatient Hospice Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
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