Cimpress to decentralise

Jo Francis
Friday, January 27, 2017

Cimpress has embarked upon a major restructure to decentralise its operations that will see thousands of jobs devolved into its business units and the departure of a number of senior executives.

The Netherlands-headquartered web-to-print giant announced the changes alongside its Q2 results.

Around 3,000 employees that previously worked in central teams will move into its various business units, while some 160 positions – circa 1.6% of the 10,000 workforce worldwide – will go altogether.

Slimming down the Cimpress executive team will result in the departure of Don Nelson, president of the mass customisation platform, although the team behind the platform will remain centralised.

Cimpress is also decentralising its manufacturing plants “into the business units for which they most often fulfil orders”. This will render the role of chief supply chain officer Will Jacobs redundant.

And chief strategy officer Ashley Hubka and chief legal officer Larry Gold will also leave the business.

Chief executive Robert Keane said that the centralised structure had made sense while the business was predominantly Vistaprint, but “was not the right organisational structure for the future”.

“A thin corporate centre with deep centralisation should allow us to stay small as we get big. In other words, to be nimble and entrepreneurial,” he stated.

Keane also thanked all the employees who would be leaving the business as a result of the changes for their contribution.

Related personnel changes include the promotion of Vistaprint president Trynka Shineman to chief executive officer of that business, while former senior vice president of technology Maarten Wensveen becomes chief technology officer and joins the executive team. 

National Pen chief executive Peter Kelly also joins the executive team. 

Total sales in the group’s second quarter (to 31 December) rose by 8% on a like-for-like basis, and by 16% including acquisitions, to $576.9m (£460m).

Currency rates, including the significant movement in the value of the pound, curtailed sales growth by about 2%.

Operating profit halved to $33.7m, and was impacted by a number of factors, including the end of two significant partnership contracts and higher earn-out charges related to the purchase of WirMachenDruck because of a strong performance at that business.

The firm’s decision to reduce shipping costs for Vistaprint customers has also impacted profitability, but it expects to benefit in the long-term through more repeat orders.

Cimpress also took a hit to gross margins due to production inefficiencies during the quarter. It struggled to recruit temporary seasonal workers at its Ontario plant in Canada due to the strong labour market in the region, and had to outsource to third party fulfillers as a result, which increased costs.

“We plan to apply this ‘lesson learned’ in future peak periods,” the firm said.

Vistaprint sales grew 7% (or 9% on a constant currency basis) to $379.4m, while Cimpress’s Upload and Print business unit – which includes Pixartprinting, Exagroup, Tradeprint and WirMachendruck – jumped by 63% to $152.4m, and by 11% on a like-for-like basis excluding acquisitions.

Sales at its All Other Business units, including Albumprinter, its ‘most of world’ operations in Brazil, Japan, India and China; and its corporate solutions division, fell by 7% to $45m.

Cimpress said that it reached a “significant milestone” during the quarter, with most of the Christmas holiday season orders at Vistaprint following across its Mass Customisation Platform (MCP). This involved circa 2.5m transactions, compared with 100,000 in the prior quarter.

The group now expects a large proportion of the remaining Vistaprint products to be connected to the MCP during the second half of its fiscal year, while recently acquired National Pen and “several” of its Upload and Print brands are also set to connect to it by the end of the financial year.

The group’s share price fell by nearly 12%, by $11.60 to $86.57, on the announcements.



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