Posted by Diane Capuano
Benjamin Moore & Co. has announced the appointment of Robert S. (Bob) Merritt as Chief Executive Officer and President, following the departure of Denis Abrams in early June.
Abrams headed Benjamin Moore for seven years. According to his profile on Bloomberg Businessweek, he joined the company in 1995 and held a variety of positions over the last 17 years, including Director of Planning and Director of Manufacturing. He served as Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer prior to assuming the role of CEO and president.
According to the official announcement provided by Benjamin Moore, Merritt comes to the company with more than three decades of management experience in the restaurant and food preparation and distribution industries. As Senior Vice President and CFO of the Outback Steakhouse Inc., he oversaw the initial public offering in 1991 of that franchise and its subsequent listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Under his stewardship, the company grew from five restaurants in Florida to more than 1,250 locations in 22 countries. The original Outback brand also expanded during Merritt’s tenure to seven additional restaurant concepts, including Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Roy’s, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar.
When working for Price Waterhouse, Merritt had clients in various industries, including a large railroad, a plumbing supply manufacturer and distributor and a manufacturer of medical imaging equipment.
“Benjamin Moore is an icon of American industry and a valued heritage brand among paint and coatings products,” said Merritt. “I look forward to the challenges ahead, building on the company’s successful history and helping to prepare it for the next 50 years.”
The 129-year-old paint manufacturer, based in Montvale, N.J., was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in 2000. One of the country’s leading manufacturers of premium quality residential, commercial and industrial maintenance paints and other coatings, Benjamin Moore distributes its products via a network of independent paint and decorating retailers throughout North America.
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