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Polaroid taps Black & Decker executive Gary T. DiCamillo is named chairman, chief executive


Gary T. DiCamillo, who headed Black & Decker Corp.'s worldwide power tool division for the last two years, yesterday was named chairman and chief executive officer of the Polaroid Corp., the company that invented instant photography but whose image has faded with investors in recent years.

Mr. DiCamillo, 44, is only the fourth chairman for the 58-year-old Cambridge, Mass.-based company and the first to come from outside its ranks. He will be under intense pressure to improve the company's lackluster performance.

"They need some direction, they need to get rid of the deadwood," said Brenda Lee Landry, a consumer products analyst for Morgan Stanley & Co., a New York investment banking firm.

The company, which had revenues of $2.3 billion last year, has seen its earnings see-saw in recent years -- going from $99 million in 1992 to a loss of $51.3 million in 1993 and then a profit of $117.2 million last year.

Polaroid's stock lost 3 percent of its value last year but has gone back up by 23 percent this year, largely on the anticipated retirement of I. MacAllister Booth, 63, who has headed the 11,300-employee company for eight years.

But the reaction of Wall Street yesterday was cool. The company's stock dropped $1.125 a share, to close at $40.875.

Ms. Landry attributed the drop partly to the general decline in the market and to disappointment that Polaroid had not appointed someone better known name than Mr. DiCamillo. "No one is jumping up and down about it because he's not a superstar," she said.

However, Mr. DiCamillo got high marks from one analyst for his job as president of the power tools and accessories division, which accounts for about $2 billion of Black & Decker's $5.2 billion in sales last year and has been the main engine of the Towson-based company's revival in the last two years.

"He's done a great job for Black & Decker," said R. Bentley Offutt, president of Offutt Securities Inc., a Hunt Valley-based institutional research and brokerage firm.

Mr. Offutt pointed to the decision by Black & Decker to bring in General Electric executives a few years ago to cut costs in its manufacturing operation. "The GE people have turned this company around," he said.

While Mr. DiCamillo declined to outline what steps he will take once he officially takes over the reins on Dec. 1, he said a top priority would be supporting the stock price.

"I'm a big believer in shareholder value, shareholder return," Mr. DiCamillo said. "I'm a big believer in customer satisfaction, in customer value. In giving an excellent value to the users of the product line."

The introduction of new products will also be a focus, he said. "They have some great, interesting technology," Mr. DiCamillo said.

Mr. DiCamillo joined Black & Decker as vice president of marketing for its U.S. Power Tools Division in 1986, following Black & Decker's chairman Nolan D. Archibald, who moved from Beatrice Corp. in 1984.

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