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Calabrese leaves Lionel

By Nick Bullock
Published: April 16, 2014
Jerry Calabrese has stepped down as president and CEO of Lionel Electric Trains.

“Lionel is one of those rare American companies that has endured for 114 years,” said Calabrese, who had been in the position since 2004, “so a decade doesn’t seem very long in its lifespan. But it’s a very long time for one person to stay at the helm, especially during such a critical period in its history.”

The announcement was made in an April 16 post in the company’s website. The move completes a transition process begun more than a year ago when Lionel consolidated operations at its Concord, N.C., facility, according to the post.

When Calabrese took over in late 2004, Lionel was mired in a “devastating lawsuit that threatened to destroy the company,” according to the release. Once the lawsuit was resolved, the recession hit the U.S. economy.

“I should probably have chosen a more tranquil decade,” Calabrese said. “The good news is that as painful as those years were, Lionel has weathered the storms and made great progress. Loyal fans and dedicated employees made it possible for Lionel to make more innovative and better quality products than it had for many years.”

Calabrese said he has left Lionel in its most stable position since before the recession. He now plans to focus on some personal interests, including working with Billboard Magazine, owned by Lionel’s longtime owner, Guggenheim Partners.

“It’s been a privilege to serve such an iconic American brand,” Calabrese said, “and I wish Lionel nothing but the best in its next 114 years.”