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Management changes at Newell Rubbermaid

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Storage and housewares manufacturer Newell Rubbermaid has announced key senior management changes with the goal of “speeding the company’s transformation into a marketer of consumer-driven brands.”

James Roberts has been appointed executive group president-office products and cleaning, organization and decor. Roberts has been responsible for Newell Rubbermaid’s tools and hardware and cleaning; and organization and decor segments since 2003. He will retain responsibility for cleaning, organization and decor, while assuming the additional responsibility for office products.

William Burke III will succeed Roberts as group president-tools and hardware. He also will retain responsibility for the company’s Lenox Industrial Products and Services business in North America until a successor is named at a later date.

Steven Marton has been named president-special assignments, after heading up the company’s office products segment since 2004.

The management changes are in addition to the recently announced appointment of Jay Gould as group president-home and family. All four executives will report directly to Newell Rubbermaid president and CEO Mark Ketchum.

“These business segment leaders have proven their ability to grow revenue and profit in challenging categories, while building brands, partnering with customers and suppliers and building organizational capability,” Ketchum said.

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Palfinger names eastern sales manager

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Palfinger North America has named a new eastern sales manager for Crayler truck-mounted forklifts, the Niagara Falls, Ontario-based company announced Nov. 29.

Tom Zwickle brings to the company more than 10 years experience in the area of truck-mounted forklifts and equipment. He joins Palfinger’s expanding North American sales force and will provide eastern markets with the support and service needed to continue to grow in this expanding market, the company said.

Zwickle will be based in Wilton, N.Y.

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Indianapolis remains most affordable housing market

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Indianapolis remained the most affordable major U.S. housing market for the ninth consecutive time in the third quarter of 2007, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released Nov. 27.

Meanwhile, nationwide housing affordability rose on a year-over-year basis but was down slightly for the quarter due to higher mortgage rates.

“Today’s HOI reading indicates that 42 percent of all new and existing homes that were sold during the third quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $59,000,” said NAHB president Brian Catalde, a home builder from El Segundo, Calif. “This reflects a slight improvement in affordability from a year ago, when only 40.4 percent of homes were within reach of median income-earners, but is just below the 43.1 percent of homes that were affordable to median income-earners in this year’s second quarter.”

The HOI indicates that the national weighted interest rate on fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages — a key component in calculating the HOI — was 6.73 percent in the third quarter, compared to 6.44 percent in the second quarter.

In the nation’s most affordable major housing market of Indianapolis, 87.5 percent of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median household income of $63,800. Also near the top of the list for affordable major metros this quarter were Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; and Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.

On the flip side, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., was the nation’s least-affordable major housing market for the 12th consecutive quarter. Just 3.7 percent of new and existing homes in that area sold during the third quarter were affordable to those earning the area’s median family income of $61,700.

Other major metros at the bottom of the housing affordability chart included Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.; and Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.

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