Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

New York Company Buys United Design

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

New York Company Buys United Design

Article excerpt

Charterhouse Group International has acquired United Design, the Noble manufacturer of sculpted figurines and gift products, for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1973 by Jeanie and Gary Clinton, United Design produces more than 4,500 products, including the Stone Critters line of figurines, Frame-ology photo frames and Stone Garden outdoor sculptures.

New York-based Charterhouse manages a diversified portfolio of industrial and service companies, ranging from cable television and waste management to real estate management, toys, apparel and other consumer products. It has completed more than 75 acquisitions and private equity investments. Paul Mullan, a Charterhouse strategic partner and United Design's new chairman, named Jeff Massien to succeed the Clintons as president and chief executive officer of the company. Massien comes to United Design with 20 years of marketing and general management experience at General Mills, Donruss, Leaf, Fleer and Del Monte. Like United Design, both Fleer and Donruss sell collectibles. Mullan served as co-chairman and co-chief executive of Del Monte from 1995 until its sale in 1997, having previously held Fleer's chairman and chief executive posts. He led Donruss as president and has served in senior management positions at Leaf and General Mills. "The Clintons have left in place a strong business," said Mullan, "and a strong management team for Jeff Massien to lead." Jeanie Clinton, 46, and Gary Clinton, 49, plan to retire. Divorced about a year ago, the pair issued a statement of faith in Charterhouse: "It was important to us that the new owners of United Design be dedicated to the long-term success of the business, and to the company's role as a corporate citizen in Oklahoma, where we built the business. Charterhouse has an excellent track record as a highly responsible owner, and we are confident that the company's product lines, its employees and its place in the Oklahoma community are in good hands. …

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