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Merit Group names purchasing exec

The Merit Group, a nationwide distributor of paint sundries that does business as Lancaster and Five Star, has announced the appointment of Mike Smith as its new VP procurement. Smith will succeed Pat Rourke, who served as VP procurement since 2003.

Smith has been in the role of president of Merit Supply, a division of the Merit Group specializing in the automotive aftermarket, for the past 11 years and will continue to oversee this division in his new role. Prior to that, Smith held the positions of VP purchasing and purchasing director from 1992 to 2000. 

“There are tremendous opportunities ahead for the Merit Group,” Smith said. “I look forward to this opportunity to lead the procurement team as we strengthen the relationships we have with our vendors and partners in the industry.” 

Based in Spartanburg, S.C., the Merit Group filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. The company has obtained a commitment for a $55 million debtor in possession financing from its senior lender to continue operations during the reorganization process. But it has also announced its intention to explore a possible sale as a strategic alternative.

Founded as Lancaster Supply in 1953, Merit Group serves national, regional and independent paint chains, home improvement centers, hardware stores, lumberyards and drywall yards in the United States, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Its distribution centers are located in South Carolina, Florida, Texas, California, Utah, Kentucky, New Jersey and New York.

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