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Ace appoints new leaders in finance, retail support

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware has hired Rick Affolter as vp-finance and has promoted Rick Whitson to vp-retail support, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based co-op announced.

Affolter, 54, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Ace’s finance department and will oversee the company’s controller, tax director and director of financial planning and analysis. He joins Ace from HD Supply Inc., a wholesale distributor of construction and maintenance products sold by Home Depot in 2007, where he served as a director of finance.

Affolter, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Northern Illinois University and a master’s in business administration from the Lake Forest School of Management, will report to Dorvin Lively, Ace’s chief financial officer.

“Rick has a long and successful track record in finance and accounting,” Lively said. “He brings expertise in strategic planning, operations analysis and financial reporting processes and procedures to Ace.”

In his new role, Whitson, 55, , will direct activities at Ace’s 14 retail distribution support centers and six cross dock facilities. He will also continue in his role as director of retail support and engineering.  

During his 29-year career at Ace, Whitson has also served as warehouse supervisor, where he participated in the initial start-up of three major distribution centers and directed retail support in the Midwest region. Whitson, who graduated from Elmhurst College with a degree in psychology, will report to Rita Kahle, Ace’s executive vice president.

“Rick’s distribution expertise and long history at Ace is invaluable to us,” Kahle said. “He will bring on-the-ground experience and trusted leadership to this position.”

In addition to Whitson’s promotion, there are two other changes to Ace’s retail support leadership team. Tim Rignell, 55, who most recently served as retail support manager, has been promoted to director-retail support for the Midwest region. In this role, he will oversee operations at the LaCrosse, Wis., and Princeton, Ill., retail support centers and the Chicago cross dock.

Scott Zirlin, 60, director-retail support for the Northeast region, will assume responsibility for overseeing the Toledo, Ohio, distribution center and the cross dock located in Cleveland in addition to facilities in New York, Virginia and Maryland he already leads.

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Bailey’s Lumber to close Gulfport store

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bailey’s Lumber and Supply is closing its Gulfport, Miss., store, but will remain headquartered in Gulfport, according to The Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

Bailey’s owner Woody Bailey said store employees in Gulfport will be offered jobs at Bailey’s stores in Bay St. Louis, Miss.; Ocean Springs, Miss.; Jackson, Miss.; Brandon, Miss.; or Meridian, Miss.

Bailey’s, which sells mainly to home builders and contractors, hopes to reopen the Gulfport store once the economy improves, Woody Bailey said.

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LP announces cost-reduction measures

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Louisiana-Pacific Corp., a leading supplier of engineered wood products and other building materials, has announced a plan to reduce its capital spending to $25 million a year for the next several years.

“LP is now in the midst of a right-sizing effort to reflect current business conditions,” said company CEO Rick Frost. For comparison’s sake, he noted that the capital spending for 2008 is expected to reach $170 million.

Among the planned actions are a 14 percent cut in the salaried workforce, approximately 200 positions. Flight operations have been shut down, research and development has been “put into hibernation,” and IT operations are now in “maintenance mode,” Frost said. Marketing and sales expenditures have been reduced, and salaries have been frozen.

Taken together, these initiatives should save Louisiana-Pacific between $30 and $35 million a year, Frost said.

Over the past several quarters, the Nashville, Tenn.-based company has also curtailed operations at four oriented strand board (OSB) mills and taken downtime at other production facilities.

On Nov. 4, Louisiana-Pacific reported a third-quarter loss of $100 million. Sales declined to $389.6 million from $472.5 million during the same period last year.

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