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Direct marketing hiring heats up

More than two-thirds of direct marketing companies plan to add staff in the first quarter, according to the quarterly employment survey released earlier this month by Bernhart Associates Executive Search, a direct marketing search company. Seventy percent of companies surveyed said they plan to increase headcounts this quarter, compared with 60% in the final quarter of 2004. In addition, the survey found new hires will outnumber replacements by six to one. Five percent of respondents said they plan to reduce staff in the first quarter, and 8% said they still have a hiring freeze in effect. "Right after 9/11 the hiring freeze number was nearly 40%," said Jerry Bernhart, president of the search firm.

Grainger unit agrees to acquire AW Direct

Industrial products supplier W.W. Grainger announced that its Lab Safety Supply subsidiary has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held AW Direct, which sells towing and work truck equipment to the auto service, utilities, construction and government markets. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Grainger said it expects the acquisition to close in the first quarter. AW Direct will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Lab Safety Supply.

Alesio succeeds Loren as D&B CEO

D&B announced that Steven W. Alesio has been promoted to CEO, from president-COO. He succeeds Allan Z. Loren, who announced his retirement plans last May. Loren will serve as chairman until he retires in May 2005, when Alesio will add that title. Alesio has been a member of the D&B board since May 2002. The company has not announced who will assume Alesio's former titles.

DMA seeks marketer of the year nominees

The Direct Marketing Association's Business-to-Business Council announced it is seeking nominations for the 2005 Business-to-Business Marketer of the Year Award, which will be presented at the DMA's Direct Marketing to Business Conference in Florida in March. Nomination forms can be downloaded at b2bcouncil/marketeroftheyear/shtml. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 21.

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