Bouncing on to Rubbermaid

VerticalNet loses their COO to old economy

FREEPORT, Ill., January 8, 2001-- Newell Rubbermaid announced the appointment of Joseph Galli to the position of president and CEO today, seemingly stealing him away from his previous office as COO at VerticalNet. The move, while looked down upon by some, is exciting for Rubbermaid; the first items on Galli's agenda are global expansion and global e-sourcing.  Galli succeeds William P. Sovey, the previous CEO who will reassume his position as Chairman of the Board.

In his new position, Galli will oversee worldwide operations for the company, a responsibility that includes increasing organic growth through new product development and brand management initiatives. He will also lead global expansion efforts in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
"We were looking for an experienced executive capable of growing a large multinational company who also had
considerable experience in the consumer products industry and would be an excellent fit in the Newell Rubbermaid organization," said Chairman William P. Sovey.  "We believe that Joe brings this blend of talent and experience and that under his leadership the company will return to consistent high levels of financial performance."
"I have long admired Newell Rubbermaid as an outstanding company," said Galli.  "The opportunity to further expand Newell Rubbermaid's international growth and leading market position is very exciting for me.  Newell Rubbermaid is in an excellent position to deliver compelling new products, serve high potential international markets and further build
outstanding shareholder value in the coming years.  And, I especially look forward to returning to my roots in the consumer products industry."

Though Galli says he's returning to his roots', some would say that he's prematurely retreating to safer ground. Indeed, there are those who already see Galli's recent move from the new economy with VerticalNet back to the old economy as somewhat of a betrayal.

"The sinking of a large ocean-going vessel tends to split crew members into two groups. Crew members in the first group work feverishly to maintain order among passengers, assess damage, attempt repairs, and if unsuccessful, salvage whatever possible," said George Santana, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. "Crew members in the second group make sure to use their insider's early warning of an impending disaster to be among the first to grab a life raft.

"Joe Galli, until this morning president and CEO of VerticalNet, has proved to be a crewmember of the second variety," he said.

Galli's move from VerticalNet brings into question the stability of VerticalNet's business model. VerticalNet today, however, took the transition in stride. The e-commerce enabler promoted co-founder and COO Michael Hagen to the position of CEO. In addition, the company expressed its confidence that they would be profitable in 2001.