Direct Group, a full-service provider of high-volume direct marketing services, announced yesterday that industry veteran Don McKenzie will join the company Sept. 5 as its new president/CEO.
Pennington, NJ-based Direct Group’s founder Manny Ortiz will continue as chairman of the board, passing day-to-day responsibility for running the company to Mr. McKenzie so that Mr. Ortiz can focus on leading the strategic development and long-term growth of the company while remaining involved in service provided to major clients.
Mr. McKenzie was president/ CEO of Petsky Prunier LLC, an industry-leading investment bank serving the direct marketing, marketing services and technology, advertising and promotion, and information industries. Mr. McKenzie joined Petsky Prunier in October 2005.
From 2000 to 2005, he served as president of Transcontinental Direct U.S.A. (formerly CC3), integrating five separate companies into one that ultimately employed 2,500 people and building revenues from $60 million to $260 million in five years’ time. Prior to Transcontinental Direct U.S.A., McKenzie was president of the online division of Advo Inc., the nation’s largest direct-mail media company.
Since 1995, Mr. Ortiz has grown Direct Group from a $2 million provider of printing and lettershop services into a $100 million enterprise. Today, the company is one of the nation’s top providers of comprehensive direct marketing services, including prepress, print and personalization, lettershop, commingling and postal optimization, database management, telemarketing, response, and fulfillment. It employs 1,100 people in three facilities that total 700,000 square feet of premium production space in New Jersey, and the company processes nearly 1.5 billion pieces of mail per year annually. Key industries for the company include financial services, insurance, mortgage, and pharmaceutical.
In 2004, Mr. Ortiz and the senior management team partnered with private equity firm SV Investment Partners to provide financial and strategic support to Direct Group’s growth efforts. Expanding the management team with the addition of McKenzie is consistent with that strategy.
“I think very highly of Manny Ortiz as well as Chris Ryan, who is executive vice president of sales, and both Manny and Chris are co-founders of the firm,” said Mr. McKenzie, who added that he was recruited by the company. “They have an exceptional product line, excellent client base, and a real forward thinking strategy of how to expand their company to become an integrated direct marketing company.”
For example, Mr. McKenize said the company is planning “to expand their capabilities to be more data centric, as well as developing effective e-messaging and online communication skills.”
Mr. McKenzie led the development of CC3’s capabilities in online services. This included e-messaging, e-fulfillment and Web-based services designed to complement conventional acquisition, retention and loyalty programs. Under his leadership, the company introduced a suite of Web-based workflow management tools, allowing clients 24/7 access to project management information and inventories.
In May 2003, Mr. McKenzie orchestrated CC3’s investment in @Once, one of the country’s leading providers of strategic e-messaging solutions, and became a member of the technology company’s board of directors. Throughout 2004, he managed the corporate integration of CC3 and Transcontinental’s existing U.S. operation into Transcontinental Direct U.S.A. Inc., and he led the opening of a new production facility in Dallas/Ft. Worth. In February 2005, Mr. McKenzie led Transcontinental Direct’s post-acquisition integration of JDM Inc.