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1. Paul Lage & Nicolas Paillot
BIC Group & Norwood Promotional Products

2008 Rank: Paillot, n/a; Lage, 3

Reasons for ranking: The people behind the top news story of the year are currently at the forefront of the ad specialty market. When BIC acquired Norwood Promotional Products out of bankruptcy in May, the two companies came together to form the largest supplier organization in the industry. Now together called BIC Advertising and Promotional Products (BIC APP), the leader of the combined outfit is Nicolas Paillot, the BIC Group general manager in charge of the French conglomerate’s advertising and marketing divisions. And with the two U.S. divisions (BIC Graphic and Norwood) still operating separately, how Paul Lage integrates Norwood into the larger BIC organization will be a story to watch in 2010. Combined, there’s no doubt these two executives will have the biggest impact on industry business next year.

Paillot on 2010: Although there are signs of a more positive trend starting to take place, the industry should remain cautiously optimistic going into 2010, bearing in mind the challenging global economic situation that still exists.

Lage on product safety: Everyone should understand and support product safety. It hasn’t gained enough attention of distributors and some suppliers simply because people are overwhelmed with the economy. Product safety will continue to gain attention going forward and that will only make our industry better.

Paillot on the industry five years from now: Over the next five years, there will likely be continued supplier and distributor consolidation. The BIC acquisition of Norwood Promotional Products and the formation of BIC APP is a good example.

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