Michael DuBose is chairman/CEO of troubled Vertis

Vertis Communications announced Dec. 6 that Michael DuBose has been named chairman/CEO of Vertis Communications, effective immediately.

Mr. DuBose will assume the CEO position from Dean Durbin, who has been CEO since February and president since November 2004. Mr. Durbin is resigning from those posts and is expected to provide transition support to Vertis.

“I am so excited about joining Vertis and to be part of a company that I believe has great potential,” said Mr. DuBose, who spoke during a conference on Dec. 5. “Throughout my career I have been successful in helping a variety of companies in difficult industries improve financial perform and create incremental value.”

Mr. DuBose will assume the chairman’s position from Don Roland, who will continue to serve on the Vertis board of directors.

Vertis, which is owned by an investor group led by Thomas H. Lee Co. and Evercore Partners, is heavily in debt from a leveraged buyout last year.

Third-quarter revenue fell 4 percent to $352.2 million, compared with $367 million in the third quarter of last year. The company reported a net loss in the third quarter of $18.1 million, compared with a net loss of $24.6 million in the third quarter last year.

Mr. Dubose said he believes that focusing on Vertis customers, supporting employees and investing in its business will strengthen Vertis’ position as a value-added partner with its customers and a leader in communications services.

“I fully understand the difficult industry conditions we are facing at Vertis,” he said. ‘I believe that in this environment there are numerous opportunities for growth.

“My initial [task] over the next few weeks will be to quickly understand and assess these issues and opportunities, [and] we will then establish the best strategy to pursue them,” he said.

Vertis also is trying to better compete in an advertising environment that is moving away from traditional methods.

With net sales of about $1.5 billion last year, Vertis employs 6,000 people nationwide and 100 locally in its Baltimore headquarters.

The company is one of the leading providers of advertising products and services, including newspaper inserts such as coupons, television guides and Sunday comics. It also provides other services such as consumer research and direct mail.

Mr. DuBose joined Vertis after serving as senior advisor to the Los Angeles investment firm Aurora Capital and chairman of San Fernando, CA-based Anthony International.

He also served as chairman and president/CEO of Aftermarket Technology Corp., a Downers Grove, IL-based re-manufacturer of automotive products from 1998 to 2005.

Prior to his role at Aftermarket, Mr. DuBose was chairman/CEO of Grimes Aerospace Co. He has also held executive positions at SAIC, General Instrument and General Electric Co.

“Vertis has achieved several success over the last two years, and we’d like to give Dean Durbin thanks for helping orchestrate many of those successes,” said Soren L. Oberg, managing director of Thomas H. Lee Partners and a Vertis director.

“[Mr. DuBose] has really been able to transform businesses and find growth even though there might have been some challenging industry conditions surrounding these companies,” he said. “That really drove the decision to change at this point.”

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