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Jarden Names New CEO; Splits Chairman, COO Positions

Jarden, parent company to brands that include K2, Marmot, Rawlings, Shakespeare, Vokl, has named a new Chief Executive Officer, after its long-time CEO Martin Franklin has stepped down after ten years at the helm, according to a Reuters story. Current COO James Lillie will assume the new role as CEO at Jarden, and Franklin will stay on as executive chairman of the board starting in May 2011.

Jarden Corporation, which owns the K2, Marmot, Rawlings, Shakespeare, Vokl and other outdoor brands, will split the chairman and chief executive officer roles following its 2011 annual meeting in May in a move that will put current COO James Lillie in charge of day-to-day operations.

James E. Lillie, currently Jarden’s president and chief operating officer, will assume the role of chief executive officer, managing the day-to-day operations of the business and continuing to work with Franklin and Ian Ashken, Jarden’s vice chairman and chief financial officer, to focus on driving consistent, profitable growth across all of Jarden’s business segments. Mr. Lillie will also be nominated to join the board of directors at the 2011 annual meeting.

“When Ian and I founded the concept of what was to become Jarden Corporation in 2001, the company had annualized revenue of approximately $300 million, nearly all of which was domestically based,” said Franklin. “Today, the company has annualized revenue of over $6.0 billion, supported by a sophisticated operating platform to help maximize the potential of each of our businesses, and nearly 40% of revenue is generated from international markets.

“Today’s announcement is the natural evolution of balancing the needs of a global consumer products company, and the maturation of Jarden’s governance structure, while we continue to build upon the unique characteristics that make Jarden special,” Franklin continued. “After consultation with the Board of Directors, I believe that 2011 is the right time for me to become executive chairman and to promote Jim to the position of chief executive officer. As executive chairman, I will continue to set the strategic and philosophical direction of the company while Jim will focus on the daily intricacies of business operations, closely collaborating with Ian Ashken and myself in what we internally call our ‘Office of the Chairman’.  I think there are benefits to Jarden from having a new CEO after 10 years, particularly for interfacing with customers and from a corporate governance perspective, and I would like to congratulate Jim on receiving this well-earned promotion. Jim has been an integral part of Jarden’s success since joining the company back in 2003 and his promotion highlights the bench strength within the business.”

Franklin concluded, “Jarden has performed exceptionally well in the tough economic environment over the last couple of years. As we enter 2011, we believe the current trends in our businesses put us on a solid growth trajectory, and we continue to expect organic top-line growth of 3-5%, with higher reported growth taking into account the 2010 tuck-in acquisitions.  We also expect at least 50 basis points improvement in gross margin and a 10 percent improvement in adjusted earnings per share. As always, the underpinning of Jarden’s strong performance is the hard work and dedication of our employees, and I would like to thank them for all the support they have given me over the last ten years and assure them that I will continue to be as committed to Jarden’s success as ever in the future.”