*Fingerhut Loses Top Executive

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Peter Michielutti, the man who spearheaded several of the programs that helped Fingerhut Companies Inc. engineer a financial turnaround, left the company last week.


Michielutti, who worked for Fingerhut, Minnetonka, MN, for three years, the first two as chief financial officer and the third as chief operating officer, said June 29 that his decision to leave partially reflected his feeling that his responsibilities and opportunities at the company would be reduced as a result of the hiring of Bill Lansing as president in May. Michielutti's last day was June 25.


"I think I have the ability to run a company of that size -- and with Bill there, I didn't think it was necessary to have both of us," he said. "He's very capable and I'm sure he'll do a fine job but it lessens the responsibilities and challenge, and I decided to seek something with the type of personal challenge I want."


In an internal memo, Fingerhut noted that Michielutti's decision to leave was voluntary and touted his contributions to the company.


"Under Pete's leadership, the company achieved greater cost control and profitability," the memo stated. "Many of the initiatives Pete championed -- from revolving charge to the introduction of business teams -- will make the company more competitive in the years ahead."


Michielutti will spend the summer with his family and then look for management positions in the Twin Cities area.

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