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Lawson Products CEO Thomas Neri Steps Down

Chicago-based Lawson Products Inc. (NASDAQ:LAWS), a distributor of products and services to the MRO marketplace and No. 27 on MDM’s list of the top 40 industrial distributors, announced that Thomas J. Neri has retired as president and CEO.

Michael G. DeCata has been tapped to replace him.

Neri joined the company in 2003 and has been its president and CEO since 2007. He earlier served as CFO and treasurer and later as COO.

Read about the challenges facing Lawson Products in the article The Transformation of Lawson Products

Since 2009, DeCata has worked in private equity, conducting acquisition analysis and due diligence, and has served since June 2008 on the Board of Directors of Crescent Electric Supply, one of the largest electrical distributors in the U.S. From 2006 to 2009, he was president of the Chefs’ Warehouse, a $300 million specialty food distributor.

Before his position at the Chefs’ Warehouse, DeCata led the Contractor Supplies Division of United Rentals Inc., a $4 billion construction equipment rental company. DeCata also led Fleet Operations at United Rentals.

From 1997 until 2002 he led the eastern region of W.W. Grainger Inc. (NYSE:GWW) which had annual sales of more than $1.4 billion, 152 branch locations and 2,000 employees. DeCata began his career at General Electric Co. and worked in a variety of cross-functional and cross-business positions, including industrial sales, from 1979 until 1997.

DeCata said: “I am very pleased to have this opportunity to join Lawson Products, a company with a well-deserved reputation built upon years of service to its stakeholders. The company has taken many important steps, including implementing a strategic restructuring designed to reduce its cost structure, improve operating efficiency, enhance revenues and improve its liquidity position. These actions better position the company to compete in the MRO marketplace, and I look forward to helping the company as these objectives come to fruition.”

Lawson Products is an industrial distributor of more than 375,000 different maintenance and repair supplies. The company services the industrial, institutional, commercial and government markets in 50 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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