"I am an optimist, but an optimist who carries a raincoat." Harold Wilson (1916-95, former prime minister of Britain)

Home Depot's Nardelli resigns

ATLANTA — Only days after its board of directors expressed support for the company's management, Home Depot accepted the resignation of its chairman and chief executive officer Robert Nardelli, effective January 2. The industry's largest home improvement retailer stated that Nardelli had "mutually agreed" with Home Depot's board to step down from the company he joined six years ago. However, his departure had all of the earmarks of a company looking to separate itself from an executive whose management style and exorbitant compensation had become negative lightning rods attracting persistent questions about the integrity of its corporate governance. While Nardelli's salary and compensation during his reign have been a source of much controversy, his package on exiting the company is no less so. His total compensation on leaving the company totaled $210 million. Replacing Nardelli in both positions is Frank Blake, Home Depot's executive vp and vice-chairman, who has been with the company since 2002. Carol Tome, the retailer's executive vp and CFO, will now oversee mergers and acquisitions (which could become a hot department, given Home Depot's recent move into China), credit services and other strategies. Joe DeAngelo, executive vp of the chain's HD Supply business unit, was named to the new position of chief operating officer, which involves him more on the retail side of Home Depot's business.

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Backgrounder: Nardelli's legacy

SPECIAL REPORT — Robert Nardelli, 58, exiting chairman and CEO of Home Depot, leaves behind a legacy distinguished by bold acquisitions that firmly position the company beyond retail and into the professional side of the business. The most prominent moves were Home Depot's purchases of distributors Hughes Supply, National Waterworks and White Cap; and the pro dealer Cox Lumber. In Canada, the company built its pro business with acquisitions that included Litemore, a major commercial lighting supplier, and Brafasco, a chain in Ontario that distributes commercial fasteners and hardware. But Nardelli's legacy is marred by his failure to improve the company's previously vaunted customer service, which is widely recognized as well below the standards of the 1980s and early 1990s. Nardelli allocated billions of dollars to upgrade both the appearance of Home Depot's aging stores and their merchandise assortments, but he tried to reduce expenses by cutting back employees' work hours and shifting the company's personnel more to inexperienced and inadequately trained part-time help. The resulting impact on service levels was often nothing short of disastrous. Nardelli's imperious management style, which concentrated power into his office, didn't help matters, either. With the exception of Annette Verschuren, who is president of Home Depot Canada and Home Depot in China, every officer who was with the company when Nardelli joined Home Depot has since resigned, retired or been let go. His style was on full display at the company's shareholders' meeting last year, when Nardelli enraged investors by refusing to take questions from the floor or to provide any plan for improving the value of the company's stock price. His subsequent apology for that ill-advised performance did little to assuage shareholders, some of whom have been calling for an independent board to evaluate the company's operational strategies. While earnings remained healthy, the company's stock price and earnings performance have remained lackluster under Nardelli's watch. Nevertheless, Home Depot made Nardelli one of America's highest-paid CEOs. He received $123.7 million in compensation (and between $225 million and $245 million, when stock options are factored in), since taking over as CEO in December 2000, $38 million in 2005 alone. Over that period, the company's stock has fallen in value by just under 9%, on a split-adjusted basis. Outcries over Nardelli's compensation aren't likely to subside after Home Depot revealed that, subject to its contractual obligations, Nardelli would receive a severance package totaling $210 million. However, within hours of the news breaking that Nardelli was leaving the company, Depot's stock price jumped 2.7%.

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Stremecki takes over TIM-BR MARTS' retail division

Calgary — At Tim-BR MARTS Ltd., the giant buying group for independent building supply dealers, Steve Stremecki has moved into the role of vice-president, retail, effective Jan. 1, 2007. Stremecki has been with TIM-BR MARTS since December 2004, serving as director of business development until November 2005, when he was appointed vice-president of the group's growing commercial division. Prior to joining TIM-BR MARTS, Stremecki was U.S. operations manager for Sexton Group, a competing group based in Winnipeg. From 1984 until he joined Sexton in 2003, he was with BPB Westroc in a variety of positions, culminating in the role of vice-president of marketing for North America. "In his new role as vice-president, retail, Steve will be responsible for all TIM-BR MART retail brand, marketing, and advertising initiatives and activities," said Tim Urquhart, president and general manager of Tim-BR MARTS in a prepared release. "Over the coming weeks we will be announcing additions to Steve's team, as well as who will be taking over responsibility of the Commercial Division." The re-org comes on the heels of the recently announced departure of Don Nash, formerly executive vice-president of TIM-BR MARTS, who left the company at the end of 2006. Nash, who headed up the Ontario buying group Homecare Building Centres until it merged with TIM-BR MARTS, was in charge of marketing programs for the group, based in Mississauga, Ont. TIM-BR MARTS Ltd. now represents more than 600 member locations across Canada and over $2 billion in annual purchases.

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Watch for a "fight", says BMR CEO

LONGUEUIL, Que. — Le Groupe BMR inc. is playing a lone-wolf role these days, lacking any affiliation with other groups. But it wasn't always that way. Only two years ago, BMR was part of a four-way alliance under the umbrella group Matreco, making it part of the largest collective in the country. Within Matreco, BMR was even serving as a hardware supplier for two other members: Ontario's Homecare Building Centres, and AWARD in Atlantic Canada. Through a newly formed company, Quincaillerie Matreco Hardware (QMH), BMR's own hardware distribution business was supplying directly to Ontario dealers and to AWARD members through a warehouse in the Halifax area. TIM-BR MARTS Ltd. in Calgary was the only member not included in QMH, and given the logistical challenges of supplying the West, that worked fine for BMR. The remaining business would have provided enough volume to make QMH viable, says Yves Gagnon, president and CEO of BMR. However, things started to go wrong from the start. For starters, he says, the other QMH members continued to source some hardware on their own, which went against the agreement to make QMH the key hardware supplier. As a result, QMH purchases never got above about 20% of dealer volumes, with dealers cherry picking the QMH catalogue. "I was fairly upset about that," Gagnon recalls. In addition, AWARD decided to open its own distribution centre, without the volume levels to support it. The 50,000-square-foot DC was filled with about 4,000 fastest-moving SKUs, while remaining stock was shipped directly to dealers from BMR's warehouse on a cost-plus basis. AWARD's president at the time, Tom Smith, ended up losing his job over the failure of that venture. All the while this was going on, Don Nash, then head of Homecare in Ontario, was negotiating with TIM-BR MARTS to merge the two groups. "We couldn't supply the West adequately and TIM-BR MARTS was tied to the Sodisco-Howden Group (Now CanWel, Hardware Division). Feeling abandoned, Gagnon then decided to start looking beyond his home province to recruit members in earnest. As TIM-BR MARTS leads the way with buying group consolidation, will BMR find more partners of its own in the future? "At this moment, we are alone, but you never know," says Gagnon, smiling. He points out that the BMR's format, a group that is largely owned by only a few of its members, and has its own integrated hardware and LBM distribution, does not constitute an easy fit for other, more traditional groups, even though talks have taken place with those groups in the past. He expects consolidation — and competition — to increase among the groups. "There's going to be a big fight," he says. And as the big guys fight it out, he believes there's room for BMR to help dealers operate effectively in their own markets. "BMR offers a beautiful future," says Gagnon, for dealers, as an alternative to larger groups such as Home Hardware and RONA.

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Ace Hardware to give away a store

OAK BROOK, Ill. — The dealer-owned buying group Ace Hardware Corp. is giving new meaning to the phrase giving away the store. This month, the co-op will be accepting entries for a contest whose grand prize is an Ace Hardware store valued at $1 million. To compete in the Dream Ace contest, as it is called, applicants must demonstrate "a combination of business and sales expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and home improvement knowledge, as well as a true commitment to helpfulness," according to a prepared statement by the company.  Ace's online entry form includes an entrepreneurial–suitability test and three essay questions. The co-op will select finalists from each state through a series of interviews, presentations and other "skill-based tests" that will be conducted in New York and Chicago. Ace members will then choose the grand prize winner, who will be announced at Ace's convention in Las Vegas on March 15. The store itself will be located in Houston "or an alternate site" at the co-op's discretion. Its grand opening will be on June 30 and July 1. The value of the prize includes its inventory, fixtures, décor and technology. Ace officials will also provide the winner and staff with extensive training.

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Canadian Tire adopts new merchandising software

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — Soft Solutions has been selected by Canadian Tire Retail to provide software support for strategic merchandising and marketing activities. Soft Solutions is a provider of web-based retail merchandise management and decision support software. Soft Solutions will provide Canadian Tire Retail's 1,100-plus general merchandise hardware stores and car washes with a range of service advantages, including fully-integrated merchandise and marketing tools and a strong MDM platform to support its business. The Soft Solutions Suite covers Canadian Tire Retail's merchandising requirements for PIM, pricing, ad planning and promotions, vendor deals management, and markdown management on the new MDM platform. Soft Solutions has an 18-year track record with a large base of customers in Europe, including Carrefour, Auchan, Kingfisher, and Galeries Lafayette. It claims that its system conforms to the latest industry and technology standards, including GS1, and is compatible with multiple databases and industry application server packages.

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Hardlines Marketplace

Don't miss the products and services on the Hardlines web Marketplace ( https://hardlines.ca/html/marketplace.html ) And check out Hardlines Classifieds on the web ( https://hardlines.ca/html/classifieds.html )


BMF provides store and merchandising design services, supplies fixtures, onsite merchandising and renovation services to independent dealers and vendors in the Lumber and Building Material industry.

BMF is expanding rapidly with projects in all regions of the country and a growing client list.  BMF has exciting opportunities both at its operations in Burlington Ontario and in the field as follows:

Project Coordinator This position requires an individual well grounded in the Lumber & Building Material industry with excellent administrative, communications and customer service skills.  This person must be well organized to coordinate the many activities required to deliver thorough design and timely production/consolidation of fixtures, millwork and signage to ensure smooth execution at store level.  This person is the primary contact point for the client and must interact effectively with suppliers, vendors and internal BMF staff.  Strong computer, purchasing, expediting and negotiating skills will be real assets in this role.

Project Manager This position requires individual(s) with excellent organization, people management, and customer service skills.   The successful candidate(s) will be well grounded in the lumber and building material industry ideally with operational and merchandising experience in these stores.   Travel for extended periods across the country and a willingness to work in off hours as required are necessary in this role.  The successful candidate(s) will communicate effectively with dealers/store managers, vendor reps and the BMF office.  People management experience and a proven track record of managing complex projects and meeting budgets and deadlines will be essential.

Merchandisers BMF requires merchandisers with 2 or more years of experience merchandising hardware and/or building materials.  These positions involve traveling for extended periods across the country and a willingness to work off hours as required.  Operational experience in lumber and building material stores will be an asset.

Fixture Installers BMF requires fixture installers with 2 or more years experience.  These individuals need to have a good understanding of safe and proper installation of pallet and cantilever racking as well as gondola style store fixtures.

Please fax inquiries and resumes to (905) 332-5821 or email to careers@bmfonline.com.

Supplierpipeline Inc. provides market leading and innovative products and services to Canada's do-it-yourself hardware market.  As a globally integrated network of operations, SPI is the pipeline for its customers to a group of world-class North American and International manufacturing facilities.

We are currently seeking an experienced National Account Manager to manage the relationships of our major customers and assist us in achieving our aggressive growth plans.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Manage specific national account relationships
  • Identify growth opportunities and facilitate plans to execute growth goal
  • Communicate with external sales representatives and service agents to facilitate the ongoing servicing of national accounts
  • Work with the New Product Development team on product/SKU development
  • Work with the Sales & Marketing Coordinator to facilitate the distribution of product/market information

Experience and Skills:

  • 3 - 5 years of related sales experience
  • Experience selling to national or major accounts
  • Experience selling DIY industry products would be a definite asset
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Sound problem solving and analytical skills
  • Good oral, written, and presentation skills
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office

We offer competitive wages, benefits, a company-wide profit sharing program, and a great team with which to work. If your experiences match our requirements and you are up for a rewarding challenge, please submit your résumé and salary expectation to hr@supplierpipeline.com. While we appreciate submissions from all applicants, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Territory Manager – Atlantic Provinces

Freud Canada, Inc.

We are a well established & respected Canadian wholesale company with direct links to a world class European manufacturer of high quality woodworking tools. Your duties as Freud Canada's Territory Manager for the Atlantic Provinces will be to develop and maintain our market share in the provinces of New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, & Newfoundland. The ideal candidate will have experience calling on Hardware chains, Building Supply outlets and Big Box stores. Strong organizational skills with the ability to work independently are prerequisites for this position. Preferably you possess a College or University degree. Frequent overnight travel will be required of this position. We offer a highly competitive performance based remuneration structure and car allowance.

Please send your resume to the attention of: Mark Mossman National Sales Manager Freud Canada Inc. 7450 Pacific Circle Mississauga, Ontario L5T 2A3 mmossman@freudcanada.com

L'esprit d'innovation – The Spirit of Innovation

Are you ready to be rewarded by using your creativity and your spirit of innovation to the fullest in an open-minded environment at all levels?

A Company of People Building Their Own Future Tembec is a large, diversified and integrated forest products company. With operations principally located in North America and in France, the Company employs approximately 9,000 people. Tembec's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol TBC. Additional information on Tembec is available on its website at www.tembec.com.

Tembec provides an environment in which all employees can contribute to the best of their ability within high performance organization. We provide our staff with effective training, the benefits of open and honest discussion, the chance to participate directly and actively in the development of solutions that will enhance the value of our offering to customers, as well as the opportunity to participate in the growth and financial success of the Company through stock options and profit-sharing.

Our Softwood Sales and Marketing group is looking for a skilled communicator and outstanding negotiator who wants to use his or her talent in the following positions located at our Toronto (GTA) Marketing office.

Sales Manager. The accountabilities pertaining to this position are:

  • Lead a small team of individuals and directly manage a group of major accounts for a specific market segment (retail, distribution, wholesale, etc.) and within a fast-paced, trading environment.
  • Establish high-level relationships with all accounts and develop new ones as required.
  • Obtain the highest possible prices and achieve monthly sales objectives by staying informed of market trends, prices, futures, etc.
  • Ensure a high standard of customer care.
  • Develop and implement marketing and sales tactics to improve customer service, margins and the company's positioning in specific market segments for green lumber.

Senior Account Manager or Account Manager. The accountabilities pertaining to this position are:

  • Manage a group of accounts for a specific market segment (retail, distribution, industrial, etc,) and within a fast-paced, trading environment.
  • Establish high-level relationships with all accounts and develop new ones as required.
  • Obtain the highest possible prices and achieve monthly sales objectives by staying informed of market trends, prices, futures, etc.
  • Manage all aspects of the accounts and provide a high standard of customer care.
  • Recommend marketing and sales tactics likely to improve customer service, margins and the company's positioning in specific market segments.

Customer Service Specialist. The accountabilities pertaining to this position are:

  • Manage order file and programs so as to ensure that orders are delivered in a timely fashion and to the customers' satisfaction.
  • Provide superior customer service by establishing excellent communications with customers with respect to day-to-day activities such as delivery times, order status and other after-sales requirements.
  • Gather information on markets, customer needs and requirements and any other relevant intelligence that will enable Tembec to be the preferred supplier for its customers.
  • Coordinate with all internal stakeholders on activities required to ensure that we deliver quality products to customers, on time, all the time.
  • Collaborate with internal stakeholders to ensure monthly requirements are met and participate in regular meetings to develop alternatives and solutions.
  • Develop and implement reports, activities and/or processes that will positively impact key customer satisfaction performance indicators.

Ideally, you already have experience at the Canadian or North American lumber market level. You should have a university degree, a minimum of 3-5 years of sales experience in wood products or building materials and possess superior skills in Microsoft Office. Bilingualism is an asset. Candidates will require a valid driver's license. These positions require occasional travel across North America. Bilingualism is an asset.

If this challenge interests you, please send your resume to Carole Nadon by email at carole.nadon@tembec.com or by fax at (819) 627-4779 before January 26th 2007. All documents we receive will be kept strictly confidential.



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