HID man Sullivan to head Fargo, Holland retires

Thursday, February 8, 2007

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--Fargo Electronics, the identity management manufacturer recently acquired by HID Global, announced this week that David Sullivan is the company's new president. He replaces Gary Holland, who had led Fargo through its IPO in 1999, a failed merger with Zebra Technologies in 2001, and the eventual purchase by HID, which saw shareholders realize a nearly 50 percent premium on their holdings.
Holland announced his retirement this past October, at the age of 64, and stayed with Fargo through December. In a letter to Fargo's channel partners, Holland wrote: "From the day I joined the company eight years ago, my goal has been to create an organization that would provide high-quality, reliable ID card solutions for our customers, while offering substantial, ongoing revenues to our channel and allowing our associates to rise to their level of professional excellence. I believe Fargo is in that place today. I am proud of what Fargo has become and honored to have been a part of its growth."
Now charged with that growth is Sullivan, who was most recently managing director for the Europe, Middle East and Africa division of HID Global, which is owned by Assa Abloy, the locking systems giant listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. He has a 20-year history in the security field, starting in 1985 with Honeywell, selling fire and security systems, and moving through integrator Security Specialists (now part of Siemens) on to Hughes, which was bought by HID. He has been in Europe for the past six years.
This most recent history will inform his direction for Fargo, Sullivan said. "We have a key initiative to expand our international operations to better serve the international marketplace," he said, "not just from the sales side, but from the fulfillment side, as well." He said Fargo was already doing a "significant percentage" of its business overseas, but that would grow, especially with the help of HID Global's resources.
"At Global," Sullivan said, "there's a global footprint. Their operations are around the world, with offices, warehouses, technical support, and already we've made the investment at Fargo to put people in those facilities and provide more local operations, put people in with local languages, local support capabilities--all the things necessary to become a true global organization."
Sullivan also plans to leverage his time as an integrator. "I bring an understanding of the end user," he said. "As an integrator, you're involved much closer to the end users' requirements, so I have a sensitivity to what [integrators] want to see from a manufacturer ... They look for a powerful brand that they can trust. They want to have some quality product. And they want tools that make it easy for them to convey what our messages are. Fargo has been a fantastic company in all of those areas. Our focus is going to be on being an easier company to do business with."