Direct Group Taps Industry Veteran Don McKenzie As New President & CEO
Press release from the issuing company
PENNINGTON, N.J.--Aug. 14, 2006-- Direct Group, a full-service provider of high-volume direct marketing services, announced today that industry veteran Don McKenzie will join the company Sept. 5 as its new President & CEO. Company founder Manny Ortiz will continue as Chairman of the Board, passing day-to-day responsibility for running the company to McKenzie so that Ortiz can focus on leading the strategic development and long-term growth of the company, while remaining involved in service provided to major clients.
"This is an important strategic move for our company," Ortiz said, "because the combination of my skills and Don's will help create one of the industry's most comprehensive, client-centric direct marketing services platforms, which will offer highly integrated solutions to existing and new clients."
Most recently, McKenzie was President & CEO of Petsky Prunier LLC, an industry-leading investment bank serving the direct marketing, marketing services and technology, advertising and promotion, and information industries. From 2000 to 2005, he served as President of Transcontinental Direct U.S.A. (formerly CC3), integrating five separate companies into one that ultimately employed 2,500 people and building revenues from $60 million to $260 million in five years' time. Prior to Transcontinental Direct U.S.A., McKenzie was President of the online division of ADVO Inc., the nation's largest direct-mail media company.
Since 1995, Ortiz has built the capabilities of Direct Group from a $2 million provider of printing and lettershop services into a $100 million enterprise. Today, the company is one of the nation's top providers of comprehensive direct marketing services, including prepress, print and personalization, lettershop, commingling and postal optimization, database management, telemarketing, response, and fulfillment. It employs 1,100 people in three facilities that total 700,000 square feet of premium production space, and the company processes nearly 1.5 billion pieces of mail per year. In 2004, Ortiz and the senior management team partnered with private equity firm SV Investment Partners to provide financial and strategic support to Direct Group's growth efforts. Expanding the management team with the addition of McKenzie is consistent with that strategy.
Commenting on his new position, McKenzie said, "I'm thrilled to be leading such a well-respected and forward-thinking company like Direct Group. Leveraging the company's impeccable reputation and the solid financial backing of its owners, I am anxious to get busy helping Manny and his team continue to deliver value and successful outcomes to clients and employees alike, while maintaining an impressive record of growth."
Known for his ability to integrate offline direct marketing offerings with online solutions, McKenzie led the development of CC3's capabilities in online services. This included e-messaging, e-fulfillment and Web-based services designed to complement conventional acquisition, retention and loyalty programs. Under his leadership, the company was the first to introduce a suite of Web-based workflow management tools, allowing clients 24/7 access to project management information and inventories.
In May 2003, McKenzie orchestrated CC3's investment in @Once, one of the country's leading providers of strategic e-messaging solutions, and became a member of the technology company's board of directors. Throughout 2004, he managed the corporate integration of CC3 and Transcontinental's existing U.S. operation into Transcontinental Direct U.S.A. Inc., and he led the opening of a new production facility in Dallas/Ft. Worth. In February 2005, McKenzie led Transcontinental Direct's post-acquisition integration of JDM Inc.
"Don's track record in building, positioning and managing the operations of both traditional and Web-based direct marketing companies will be invaluable as we build Direct Group's core competencies. We intend to be a Tier I supplier in integrating both online and offline direct marketing services," Ortiz said, indicating that at least one strategic initiative will soon be announced that will significantly bolster the company's database management services.
"I've had to compete against Don for quite a few years now, so this is a very exciting opportunity for me and my team to work alongside a terrific sales and marketing expert, and we look forward to it," said Chris Ryan, co-founder and Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Direct Group.
Ortiz also pointed to the recent hiring and promotion of other key executives as evidence of the company's strategic growth plans, saying, "This is about augmenting our existing team with experienced managers who can lead an organization with world-class capabilities. My goal is for our team to be the 'best of breed' in this industry."
Specifically, the company has recently promoted Ed Horowitz from Vice President of Fulfillment to Senior Vice President of Operations, and has brought on the following new hires, all of whom boast significant industry experience: Matt Graham as Vice President of Fulfillment, Ken Shirey as Vice President of Associate Development, and Jim Toohey as CFO.
"We think Manny's decision to build out his management team and bring Don McKenzie into the company is the right thing to do in today's highly competitive direct marketing environment," said Monty Yort, Partner, SV Investment Partners. "Given the pace at which our competitors and customers are consolidating, it's more important than ever that we follow Manny's lead in continuing to build a world-class company."
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