John Campanelli, president and CEO of Los Angeles-based rental company, Classic Party Rentals, resigned Thursday, Sept. 10, from his post.Campanelli joined Classic in 2004, overseeing a number of acquisitions and the growth of the company from a regional operation to a national footprint with 35 locations during his tenure.
Classic Party Rentals board member Pedro Mata will take over as acting CEO. Mata, a 26-year veteran of W.R. Grace, has been the senior advisor on the board to Quad-C, a Charlottesville, Va.-based private investment firm, which purchased Classic from Dubin Clark & Co., a private investment firm in Greenwich, Conn., in 2007.
Christine Merser, spokeswoman for Classic Party Rentals, says Campanelli is planning to spend more time with family in the Midwest. Campanelli came to the rental industry after spending several years as an executive with R.R. Donnelley, a full-service provider of print and related services based in Chicago.
Mata says he is happy about Classic’s past acquisitions and said his goals for Classic will include grassroots efforts to capitalize on the talent the company has amassed over the past few years.“I was known in W. R. Grace as a person who could go into something and act as a catalyst. I was able to go in places and create teams. We have a lot of acquired talent in many regions and have 29 general managers. We have analysis. We are the owners of the best database of anyone in the United States. Now what we need to do is put all this immense talent we have together and continue to grow,” says Mata.
The growth, however, will not necessarily come by acquisition. “The urgency for acquisitions is not as important anymore,” Mata says. “Acquisitions are opportunistic. If it fits perfectly in the strategy, then you buy it. It’s all a matter of return on the money.”Instead, he says the company’s focus will be on grassroots satellite operations. As far as the economy goes, he says Classic is in a good position to capitalize when confidence returns.
“Americans have short memories on bad news. They like to have fun. Right now, we’re afraid. As soon as the fear goes away, we’ll start to spend again. When that happens,Classic Party Rentals will be unstoppable”.