January 15, 2008 02:37 ET



Rexel, leading distributor worldwide of electrical supplies, announces the appointment of Chris Hartmann to head the Group's US activities.

Chris Hartmann will become Executive Vice President & CEO of IESC, holding company of Rexel's US activities, on January 21, 2008. He takes over from Dick Waterman, who is retiring but will stay on as an advisor to Rexel and will serve as chairman of the National Association of Electrical Distributors[*]. With his strong industry experience, Chris will oversee Rexel's US business and the coordination between Gexpro and Rexel Inc, the Group's two commercial banners in the US. He will join Rexel's Executive Committee.

This appointment follows two internal management promotions in the second half of 2007 to support Rexel's commercial initiatives in the US and the acceleration of its dual banner strategy.

- At Gexpro (formerly GE Supply), Mitch Williams was appointed Senior Vice President & CEO to replace Jeff Schaper who has retired. Mitch was previously Vice President, Global Sales, at Gexpro. His extensive sales expertise with key accounts and large projects and his strong operational track record are key assets in his new role.

- At Rexel Inc, Jeremy de Brabant was appointed Senior Vice President & CEO. Jeremy was previously Managing Director of Rexel in the UK where he has successfully turned around and developed the company over the past four years.

Both Mitch Williams and Jeremy de Brabant will report to Chris Hartmann and are members of the Group's Executive Committee.

Rexel in the United States

In the US, a market estimated at over $70 billion, Rexel became n degrees1 distributor of electrical supplies following its acquisition of Gexpro in 2006. Since then, Rexel has successfully integrated the operations of Gexpro, generating synergies ahead of plan.

Rexel's sales in the US represented 39% of the Group's pro-forma sales in 2006 (c. 30% pro-forma upon successful completion of the acquisition, currently underway, of selected assets of Hagemeyer). The industrial segment is the largest contributor to Rexel's US sales.

Through its two banners in the US, the Group's strategy is focused on leveraging differentiated offers for contractors and key accounts and optimizing Rexel's geographical footprint, while enhancing back-office synergies and sharing best practices.


Chris Hartmann has significant experience in the electrical products industry, having been Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Thomas & Betts, a leading manufacturer of electrical products, since 2006, and President of its Electrical Division from 2003 to 2006. His prior experience was in the field of electrical distribution. He was President & COO of Affiliated Distributors, and held several management positions with Rockwell Automation. Chris holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MBA from Marquette University.

Mitch Williams has worked at Gexpro/GE Supply for 17 years. He began his career in the sales division at GE Supply in Ventura (California), before becoming Branch Manager at Ft Wayne (Indiana). After managing the Cleveland and Houston branches, he was appointed to a Six Sigma Quality leadership position at Shelton (Connecticut). In January 2003, he was promoted Division President, Midwest Region, and in January 2005, he took up a position as Vice President, Global Sales. He holds a Bachelor of Industrial Distribution from Texas A&M University and a MBA in management from California Lutheran University.

Jeremy de Brabant, who holds Canadian and French nationality, has worked for nine years at Rexel. He joined in 1993 as Regional Manager for North- Eastern France. He then became Managing Director for a Rexel subsidiary in France. Jeremy was Country Manager in the Indian Ocean and Africa region for CFAO (Group PPR), for five years, before returning to Rexel in 2004, as Country Manager of Rexel UK. Jeremy graduated from ENSAM as an Engineer.

Leading distributor worldwide of electrical supplies, Rexel is serving three main end markets: industrial, commercial and residential. The Group is present in 29 countries, with a network of 1,957 branches, and employs 25,400 people. Rexel's sales were 10.7 billion EUR on a 2006 pro forma basis. Its majority shareholders are an investor group led by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Eurazeo and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity.

Rexel is listed on the Eurolist market of Euronext Paris (compartment A, ticker RXL, ISIN code FR0010451203).

For more information, visit Rexel's web site at


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[*] NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED's membership represents approximately 4,200 locations internationally.

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