MEDINA, OH – RPM Inc. announced that Michael E. Steele, formerly vice president of Newell Rubbermaid Inc., has been named RPM vice president and chief financial officer. Steele succeeds David P. Reif, who was earlier named president of RPM’s StonCor Group.
Steele, who also was group controller of Newell Rubbermaid’s Office Products Group, has held various financial-management positions at the company, most recently vice president and group controller of the combined Rubbermaid/Office Products operations. His previous positions with the company include vice president and group controller of Housewares, vice president and controller for Intercraft/Burnes and vice president and controller for Newell Window/Kirsch.
Thomas C. Sullivan, RPM chairman and CEO, said Steele played a key role in Newell Rubbermaid’s growth through acquisitions, a strategy also pursued by RPM. He said Newell Rubbermaid “is also known for running a tight operation, and Mike Steele’s experience in that culture will serve RPM well.” Newell Rubbermaid’s diversified group of businesses includes several well-known consumer brands, including Rubbermaid, Little Tykes, Calphalon, EZ Paintr, Levolor, and Rolodex.
Separately, Sullivan said RPM is realizing “some benefits” from a major restructuring program launched last year, but he said the company continues to “encounter difficulties” in carrying out the program’s last major component – the consolidation of the Wood Finishes Group. The group’s “below plan performance” has offset gains made elsewhere in the company as a result of the restructuring program, he said.
The Wood Finishes Group’s operations are expected to adversely impact RPM’s overall results for the balance of the company’s fiscal year ending May 31, and Sullivan said RPM expects to show a loss for its third quarter ending Feb. 28. He said the company expects to finish the year with fourth-quarter earnings sharply higher than the prior-year period. But for the year as a whole, the company anticipates earnings to be flat compared to the year ended May 31, 2000, Sullivan said.