Magazine article Personnel Journal

The New VP of HR on Changes, Challenges and the Hallmark Character

Magazine article Personnel Journal

The New VP of HR on Changes, Challenges and the Hallmark Character

Article excerpt

Last year probably wasn't the smoothest in Hallmark history. In early 1995, it went through a major restructuring-introducing a whole new management team. At about that same time, the company merged the administrative, marketing and product-development functions of the Hallmark card brands. The changes were probably in response to a slipping return on equity and a decreasing market share (though don't feel too sorry-Hallmark still holds 45% of the market).

Enter Ralph Christenson, who took on the role of vice president of HR in September of '95. Although still a new kid at the company, Christenson was willing to share a few thoughts on Hallmark and its employees:

You came in on a pretty bumpy year. How are things looking now? The company has gone through a fairly significant organizational change [with the new management]. The reorganization was intended to give more focus to the company mission as a whole. Organizational change will help us do that. So it's positive.

Would you say Hallmark's culture is changing as a result? Hallmark has a history of having a very strong culture, a strong set of values. It's a company that really does support and value people. With the changes that have occurred, I think we're looking for ways to build on a very good base, rather than start all over. [We want] to keep Hallmark's guiding values and principles and beliefs, and move on to a stronger business and competitive culture-a culture that can respond to changes in the industry. That doesn't mean we change the Hallmark culture, we just leverage it to be more competitive. …

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