“I think he’s been considering this for some time; it’s just the next step,” said Duane Kluting, X-Rite’s vice president and chief financial officer.
There is no search underway for a new CEO as President Michael C. Ferrara is assuming Cook’s responsibilities sans the CEO title.
“We’ll keep the title as president for awhile and we’ll see what happens in the future, but I’ll have all the authority and responsibility that Rich Cook had in addition to what I also have,” Ferrara said.
Cook, 57, was appointed president and chief operating officer of X-Rite in June 1998 after having served as a director. In January 2000 he was named CEO in addition to his role as president. He will serve out the remainder of his term on X-Rite’s board, which ends this year.
When Ferrara was appointed president and chief operating officer in July 2001, Cook dropped the president from his title but retained direct responsibility over corporate strategy as X-Rite’s CEO.
Ferrara said he had been groomed to take on the additional responsibilities of CEO and that he expects the transference of those responsibilities to him to go smoothly. Along with those responsibilities, a heightened involvement with the X-Rite investor community will be more a part of what he does every day, he noted.
What changes might occur under his expanded leadership?
“I think we’ve already seen changes in X-Rite in what we’ve already performed,” Ferrara said, noting that the company grew by 7.4 percent in 2002. “We’ve already taken initiatives to grow the business from within. Those initiatives will continue, and really the cornerstone of those initiatives is focusing on the customer.
“The reason X-Rite exists is the color business; that’s the business that we’re world class in and we will continue to grow that business.”
In a prepared statement, Chairman John E. Utley thanked Cook for his years of service and said the board is confident in the company’s future direction, as well as Ferrara’s leadership.
“During Mr. Ferrara’s tenure he has gained the respect of the board of directors and the management and employees of the company alike,” he stated.
Ferrara came to X-Rite with significant experience in domestic and international business development and marketing.
He had been CEO of Marine Optical Group, a global design and marketing company in the eyewear business.
He also had served as CEO of N.I. World Trade, an international marketing and distribution company, and had held several top management positions at Westinghouse Electric Corp.