KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hallmark Cards Inc. has named Harry F. Frigon, formerly a senior executive with BATUS Inc., to oversee corporate development in a restructuring of top management at the privately held company.
The greeting card giant said Wednesday that Frigon, who served as president and chief executive officer at BATUS, would hold the new post of Hallmark'sexecutive vice president-corporate development and strategy. He also will serve as chief financial officer.
'We were looking for a particular blend of executive experience,' Hallmark spokesman Steve Doyal said Thursday.
Before joining BATUS, a holding company owned by Britain's B.A.T. Industries PLC, Frigon held a variety of operating, corporate and management positions with such companies as Masco Corp., General Housewares and General Foods Corp.
At BATUS, the 56-year-old Frigon was responsible for the company's holdings in paper, retailing, financial services and tobacco.
'Hank Frigon has extensive expertise in corporate financing, retailing and in international operations,' said Irvine Hockaday, Hallmark president and chief executive officer. 'That expertise will serve Hallmark well as we integrate corporate strategies across the company and work to extend our existing business, expand our international markets and explore additional new sources of earnings.'
Hallmark also said it has created a corporate executive committee that replaces the office of the chairman, which has been disbanded by Hallmark Chairman Donald J. Hall.
The executive committee includes Frigon, Hockaday, Robert L. Stark, who is president of the company's personal communications group, and Robert A. Kipp, group vice president-corporate communications and services.
Another change announced Wednesday is the re-naming of Hallmark's Social Expression Group to 'Personal Communications Group,' which Hallmark said better describes the group's mission.
The restructuring is part of a plan called 'Hallmark 2000: New Departures,' a plan designed to set the company's direction into the next decade and beyond.
Hockaday told Hallmark workers in an employee publication the company would continue to be 'governed by the beliefs and values that Hall family ownership has instilled in us.'
'But Hallmark also will be committed to a broader definition of our core business, a more global presence in world markets and a much expanded view of the scope of our possibilities.'