XRite Promotes Vacchiano To CEO

September 15, 2006
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GRANDVILLE — Michael C. Ferrara will retire as CEO of X-Rite Inc. and give up his seat on its board of directors on Oct. 1, but he will remain as a consultant through the end of the year as the company transitions to the leadership of succeeding X-Rite President and CEO Thomas J. Vacchiano. As part and parcel to the promotion, Vacchiano will become a member of X-Rite’s board.

Vacchiano was formerly president and CEO of Amazys Holding AG, the Swiss color technology company known for designing, developing and marketing color management solutions under the GretagMacbeth brand. Vacchiano served in that capacity from early 2001 up until X-Rite’s acquisition of Amazys this past July. He assumed the role of president and COO of X-Rite right after the deal closed.

In a three-year transaction agreement negotiated with Vacchiano in January, X-Rite stated its intention to promote him to the position of CEO within 18 months of completing the purchase of Amazys.

At the same time, the company modified provisions of its employment agreement with Ferrara, which extended to Dec. 31, 2008. In an amendment to the employment contract, both parties agreed that the company could terminate Ferrara’s role as CEO at any time prior to Dec. 31, 2008, simply by giving written notice as to the effective date of termination.

Vacchiano doesn’t find it that surprising that he was promoted to CEO just three months after the Amazys acquisition was finalized.

“The interesting thing is that we really kind of think of it as eight or nine months later, because we’ve been working together on the integration since Jan. 31,” he remarked. “We’ve been so active from February through September that it feels a lot longer, so it feels pretty comfortable.”

X-Rite Chairman John Utley credited Ferrara with refocusing the company on the color business. Ferrara said his past five years with X-Rite have been the most rewarding and challenging of his career.

“With the integration of the two companies firmly on track, I am very optimistic about the future of the company under Tom’s leadership and the opportunity for increased shareholder value,” Ferrara said.

Prior to heading up Amazys, he was president and CEO of Xerox Engineering Systems, a Xerox subsidiary that develops, markets and supports hardware, software and services for the engineering and graphic arts market. Before that, he spent four years as vice president of sales operations and planning for Digital Equipment Corp., an American pioneer in the computer industry. Prior to his stint as Digital Equipment Corp., Vacchiano served 17 years in positions in finance, sales, marketing and general management for NCR, a technology company specializing in solutions for the retail and financial industries. His last position with NCR was as vice president of marketing for the company’s Personal Computer Business division.

“His extensive experience in technology companies together with his current track record of creating exceptional value for Amazys shareholders over the last several years is impressive,” Utley stated. “This board believes that his vision and leadership are well aligned with the challenges of leading X-Rite to the next level of performance.”

Vacchiano believes that his nearly 28 years in the field of business-to-business, technology-based solutions have prepared him well to lead X-Rite. He said he has spent the last five and a half years successfully leading Amazys — which was basically the fastest growth company in the industry and a very profitable one — and he’s no newcomer to the industry, so that should be “very, very helpful” to him going forward with X-Rite.

“To be honest, I have competed very respectfully against X-Rite, and I know X-Rite’s strengths and weaknesses from a competitive standpoint, and I think that’s going to be really helpful now that we’re all one company.”

As far as his leadership style, Vacchiano describes himself as “one part strategist, one part team builder and one part operator.”

“I think that three-part blend is probably pretty accurate in terms of describing my background and what has helped me be successful over the years,” he added. “You need to have some sort of view or vision about where the industry and company need to go. You need to have an ability to build a really high-performance team — folks that like being with the company that are motivated and talented. Third, the operator part is making sure that you can execute well for your customers, for your partners and for your other stakeholders. I think you need to constantly do better every day, and if you can get those three things in pretty good shape, usually your company is successful.”

He said when he takes over the reins of the company Oct. 1, his No. 1 priority is “to implement a very successful integration of the two companies, which is a job X-Rite will be working on for the next several months.”

As a condition of his employment as CEO of X-Rite, Vacchiano must establish his principal residence in Michigan. He, his wife of 22 years and their two children have been living the past eight years in New Canaan, Conn. He has been commuting to X-Rite since being named president and COO July 5.

Vacchiano is originally from Dayton, Ohio, and his wife is from Evansville, Ind. The family will move to Michigan either at the end of this year or early next year, he said.    

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