No. 2 Black & Decker official quits to head Kan. firm


Michael N. Hammes, the No. 2 executive at Black & Decker Corp., resigned yesterday to take the top job at the Coleman Co. Inc., a camping-equipment maker in Wichita, Kan.

Mr. Hammes, 51, will start Oct. 1 as vice chairman of Coleman. In January, he will take over as chairman and chief executive officer, the company said.

In a statement announcing the move, Coleman's chairman, Lawrence M. Jones, who is 62, said he wanted to retire before age 65, and he praised the choice of Mr. Hammes as his successor. "Mike is a great addition to Coleman," Mr. Jones said.

Mr. Hammes joined Black & Decker in May 1990, after serving as vice president-international operations for Chrysler Corp. Previously, he had spent 20 years at Ford Motor Co.

At Black & Decker, he rose from executive vice president in charge of power tools to vice chairman with responsibility for the power-tools and household-products divisions.

Mr. Hammes was best-known for reviving the company's sales of power tools to professional craftsmen. Sales of Black & Decker's highest-priced and heaviest-duty tools -- power drills that might cost $120, for example -- were flagging because many professional builders did not trust the tools they perceived as built for "home handymen."

Mr. Hammes redesigned the tools and gave them a new name -- DeWalt -- which was well-known to professionals as the maker of industrial-quality saws. The DeWalt line, introduced in 1992, racked up $30 million in sales last year and is projected to reach $100 million in sales this year. The company reported $4.8 billion in sales last year.

Nolan D. Archibald, Black & Decker's chairman, said that while Mr. Hammes "would be missed," his position would not be filled. Instead, he said, Gary T. DiCamillo, president of the North American power tools operations, would take over the company's global power-tools business. And the heads of the company's major divisions -- power tools, household products and plumbing products -- will report directly to Mr. Archibald.

Nicholas Heymann, an analyst at County NatWest Securities in New York, said the loss of Mr. Hammes was "not inconsequential . . . but I don't think it is earth-shattering, either" for Black & Decker.

He said Mr. Hammes was a good choice for Coleman, because of his record at Black & Decker, and the similarities between selling tools and selling Coleman's equipment.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Hammes said that in his years at Black & Decker, he was most proud of building a team that developed new products and brand names, like the DeWalt line of heavy-duty power tools and the Titan line of locks.

He said he hoped to repeat that strategy at Coleman.

Mr. Hammes, who earned a salary of $475,000 in 1992, on top of a bonus of $230,000, sold most of his Black & Decker stock in recent months -- more than 60,000 shares, at about $21 a share -- according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He said he sold the stock, worth more than $1.2 million, in anticipation of, and to help finance, his move to Wichita. He said he still holds about $150,000 worth of Black & Decker stock.

Mr. Hammes holds a bachelor's degree in international economics and foreign trade from Georgetown University and a master's degree in business administration from New York University.

The announcements were made after the markets closed yesterday. Black & Decker's shares closed down 12.5 cents, to $21. Coleman's stock also fell 12.5 cents, to $29.

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