McCormick & Co., chairman honored by Baltimore County Awards

November 20, 1998|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

Charles P. McCormick Jr. and spice giant McCormick & Co. were inducted into the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame last night, joining the likes of Alonzo Decker and Black & Decker Corp. and the principals of real estate agency O'Conor, Piper and Flynn.

The induction came at a ceremony at Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn during which McCormick, known as "Buzz" to his friends, also was given the Businessman of the Year Award.

"It will be a very proud evening for our chairman and our entire organization," company spokesman Mac Barrett said before the event.

McCormick, 70, chairman of the Sparks-based company that bears his family's name, will step down from that post in March and will be succeeded by President and Chief Executive Officer Robert J. Lawless. At the same time, McCormick will retire from ** the board of directors, on which he has served since 1955.

A native of Baltimore, McCormick graduated from Friends School and studied business administration at the Johns Hopkins and Duke universities, though he did not graduate from either.

McCormick served two stints as chairman of the spice-and-seasonings company. The first was in March 1988, when he was elected chairman and CEO after a year as president and CEO. He retired Jan. 1, 1993, and became chairman emeritus. Eighteen months later, Chairman and CEO Bailey A. Thomas died of a heart attack and McCormick was called out of retirement to retake the helm of the company. McCormick was elected CEO again, in addition to chairman, in January 1996.

It proved to be a challenging time, but insiders say McCormick was more than up to the task. The company won a price war with an Australian competitor and has set some aggressive growth goals.

McCormick reported net sales of $1.8 billion and a profit of $98.4 million last year. The company expects part of that growth to come from more-aggressive marketing of its well-known brand. The "Flavor It Up With McCormick" radio and television campaign is bearing fruit, company insiders have said.

The Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame was established in 1996.

Pub Date: 11/20/98

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