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Dave Gabriel is bullish on 2004. He has to be. In May 2003, he buckled into the driver's seat of a company going through some rapid and sometimes wrenching turns in the third year of an industrial economy on life support. 'We are poised for growth,' he told MDM recently. 'We drove a lot of change at one time. Our focus now is on operational excellence and flawless execution.'
That back-to-basics approach is welcome news to all the company's constituencies. Hagemeyer was plagued in 2003 by accounting glitches that hurt its reputation with vendors and customers. That was further fueled by financial rumors based on the parent company's increasing debt load and difficult operating issues in the United Kingdom. The net result in the U.S. was distraction from the continuing integration ...