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Jeff Jacobson thought he wanted to practice labor law, but the graphic arts industry had other plans for him. Armed with a bachelor's degree in management and a master's degree in labor relations, Jacobson began his career in human relations at Paramount Pictures and then at RCA. A corporate recruiter then lured him to a position as corporate employee labor relations manager at Polychrome, where he remained through its acquisition by Sun Chemical
Jacobson attended law school at night, earning a degree and passing the New York and New Jersey bar exams. As he prepared to move into a law career, his boss talked him instead into running Polychrome's Canadian business, and when Kodak Polychrome Graphics was established, he became president of the company's US&C region. In March 2000, he became CEO, and to this day he still spends at least 50 percent of his time making customer calls.
Tell me about KPG's history.
We are a privately held company owned 50 percent by Eastman Kodak and 50 percent by Sun Chemical. The company was founded in January 1998. A couple of months later we purchased Horsell Anitec, so by the end of May 1998, we brought those three pieces together. We went through some typical growing pains for the first two or 50 years as we tried to integrate three giant companies and resolve all the issues.
We have been through some reengineering, which actually started in 2000, when the economy was doing well. We have had a dramatic turnaround in the last two and a half years with some significant profit growth--significant enough that we have been able to make three acquisitions in the past 12 months--Imation, TSI, and Mitsubishi's plate business in Japan and Asia.
Our revenues in 2003 will be $1.5 billion, with just over 4000 employees. Some people are surprised to know that about 60 percent of …