New CEO named for Bell and Howell

Nov. 19, 2013 @ 11:28 PM

A former employee of a competitor of Durham-based Bell and Howell  has been chosen to take on the role of CEO at the mail and documents machine and software company.

Ramesh Ratan will take over as chief executive of Jan. 3, according to a company news release.

Most recently, he was president of document messaging technologies division and president of marketing services solutions for Pitney Bowes.

The Connecticut-based company makes postage meters, mail machines, shipping, address mapping and geo location software and small business mailing and marketing solutions.

“We are fortunate to have recruited a senior executive with extensive industry knowledge and relevant experience to lead the company through its next phase of renewal and growth,” Gregory Segall, the CEO of Versa Capital Management, a private equity firm that’s the controlling shareholder of Durham-based Bell and Howell, said in a statement.

Philadelphia-based Versa acquired the controlling stake in Bell and Howell after Böwe Bell + Howell filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Versa had held the majority of the company's debt.

Following the sale to Versa, the company's headquarters were shifted to Durham, and the business’ name changed to Bell and Howell LLC.

A company spokeswoman said in an email Tuesday that Bell and Howell has about 250 employees in Durham working in product development, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing. In total, it has more than 1,200 employees.

In March of last year, Bell and Howell had about 350 employees working at the Durham site, out of about 1,600 employees in North America.

Ratan is taking over as CEO from Kamal Advani, Versa’s managing director, who held the role on an interim basis. He took over leadership following the departure of Leslie Stern, who stepped down earlier this year for personal reasons.