HOWARD HITCHCOCK NAMED PRESIDENT OF LIONEL
CONCORD, NC (April 18, 2014) ? As has recently been announced, Jerry Calabrese has stepped down as President and CEO of Lionel after 10 years of leadership.
During Calabrese’s tenure, Lionel began consolidating its business operations in North Carolina, made substantial improvements to the product line, and also became an official partner of NASCAR and the NHRA with the addition of die-cast collectibles to the company’s portfolio.
The Lionel leadership team thanks Calabrese for his hard work and leadership, and wishes him well in his future endeavors.
Lionel announced today that Howard Hitchcock, who has directed the company’s daily operations for more than a year as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Lionel and has served in the same capacity at Lionel Racing since its inception in 2010, has been named President of Lionel.
As President, Hitchcock will be responsible for both the train and die-cast divisions of the business, and will continue to lead the strategic planning and daily operations of the company.
Hitchcock will be supported by an experienced leadership team that has years of expertise working in all aspects of the electric train business, from production and marketing to finance and sales.
“I’m fortunate to have such a strong and dedicated team of employees to support me as we transition into this exciting phase of Lionel’s history,” Hitchcock said. “Together, we are going to introduce new generations to the heritage and the wonder of Lionel trains.”
A key leader on the Lionel team is Chris Elrod, who was previously named Chief Financial Officer. Both Hitchcock and Elrod will direct Lionel business efforts going forward to ensure the company achieves continued success.
“The potential for growth and opportunity that have been a part of Lionel’s 114-year history is stronger than ever and being responsible for the continuance of that legacy is a role both Chris and I take very seriously,” Hitchcock said.
In addition, enterprise efforts in the digital space will continue to be led by Tony Bordon. Bordon has already played a key role in executing Lionel’s digital initiatives like Battle Train and Lioneltracks.com, and he will continue to advise and assist the management team with long-term strategic planning as it relates to the digital sphere.
Hitchcock and the Lionel leadership team will continue to be based in Concord, NC, the company’s new headquarters. Lionel’s service and parts department will transition to the North Carolina location this summer, as previously announced.
Lionel Corporate Announcement
April 16, 2014, New York, NY – Jerry Calabrese has stepped down as President and CEO of Lionel Electric Trains, a position he held since 2004. Calabrese’s announcement completes a transition process begun more than a year ago when Lionel consolidated operations at its Concord, N.C. facility.
Commenting on his time there, Calabrese said, “Lionel is one of those rare American companies that has endured for 114 years, so a decade doesn’t seem very long in its lifespan, but it’s a very long time for one person to stay at the helm, especially during such a critical period in its history.”
Calabrese joined Lionel in late 2004, when it was embroiled in a devastating lawsuit that threatened to destroy the company. Shortly after its successful resolution in 2007, the economy was hit by the financial meltdown that badly depressed U.S. retail sales and destabilized global manufacturing.
“I should probably have chosen a more tranquil decade,” Calabrese quipped. “The good news,” he added, “is that as painful as those years were, Lionel has weathered the storms and made great progress. Loyal fans and dedicated employees made it possible for Lionel to make more innovative and better quality products than it had for many years; and in 2010 we diversified our product line and our audience when we added NASCAR’s collectible race cars to our train business.
“There are still many challenges to be overcome, but Lionel is in a more stable and solid position than any time since before the recession. All of which makes this a good time to step down and focus on some personal interests outside of Lionel; the first of which involves another classic brand, Billboard Magazine, also owned by Lionel’s longtime owner, Guggenheim Partners.
“All I can say on behalf of myself and Mark Erickson, who has worked with me since the beginning and is leaving with me, is that it’s been a privilege to serve such an iconic American brand and I wish Lionel nothing but the best in its next 114 years.”
LRRC / LCCA Members Special Event 3/22/14
Lionel RailRoader Club and Lionel Collectors Club of American (LCCA) Members are invited attend the LIONEL Red Carpet Event on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the Lionel offices in Concord, NC. This event includes a facility tour, operating layouts, informative seminars, plus an exclusive sale on inventoried Lionel products.
Red Carpet - Sign up in Advance Prize - Concord, NC
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