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Springfield, MO

Noble removes CEO in Gatesman buyout

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Amid its sale to Pittsburgh-based Gatesman Inc., Noble Communications Co. CEO Keith Acuff has exited the Springfield marketing firm but stayed on in a consultant role for its buyer.

The new owners offered to retain Acuff temporarily to ease the transition, Gatesman Inc. CEO John Gatesman confirmed via email. Acuff had worked as Noble Communications’ CEO since mid-2010.

“I am no longer at Noble, per Noble’s wishes,” said Acuff, who worked at the company founded by Bob Noble for more than two decades split by a five-year stint in the mid-2000s at Carthage-based national lighting manufacturer H.E. Williams Inc. “Most of the Noble associates are now associates of Gatesman, and I'm proud that I was able to craft an agreement that helped them continue their careers with a strong, vibrant agency.”

In the deal last month, Noble sold its clients in the home-and-building, insurance, banking, financial, health care and education industries to Gatesman for undisclosed terms. That represented $6.5 million of Noble’s $7.5 million business, or 87 percent of its client billings. Bob Noble remains chairman of Noble Food and Food Channel Productions LLC, which were not part of the deal, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting.

John Scroggins, editor-in-chief at the Food Channel, said John Gatesman is leading the combined company as CEO. In Springfield, Senior Vice President Nancy Banasik stayed on to direct the home-and-building operations for what’s now known as Gatesman Noble, Scroggins said, noting most senior leadership members work out of Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, Acuff is in the process of finding a new job.

“I'm sure there's a canned phrase out there to use, but I'm taking time to explore my options, truly understand my passions and find something that will excite and inspire me,” Acuff said via email. “Somewhere out there is a fabulous fit, but it won't happen overnight. Not too often a person gets to start anew, so I want to be sure and do it right. I'm confident I will.

”Sometimes, timing makes for interesting circumstances.”

Acuff’s 30-plus year career includes five years at Houston, Texas-based Arthur Andersen & Co. and two years working for Procter & Gamble in Houston, Texas.

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