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Clarke, local businessman, named president of Catalyst Paper Corp. ; He recently resigned from World Color

Kevin J. Clarke, the Quebecor and World Color Press veteran who ran the company's giant plant in Depew for years, has been named president and CEO of Canadian paper giant Catalyst Paper Corp.

Clarke, who resigned from World Color in December after 25 years with the company, will take over his new post as of June 21.

Clarke, a Niagara University graduate, has been a high-profile leader in the local business community. He served as chairman of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for more than four years, and served on the Buffalo Niagara Partnership's board.

Most recently, he was president of the publishing services group at World Color.

World Color is being acquired by rival Quad/Graphics of Wisconsin for $1.3 billion in a deal that is expected to close in a few weeks.

"Kevin's knowledge of the marketplace and his experience in printing and publishing are well matched with our requirements and will ensure momentum continues as Catalyst transforms its business to keep pace with the very competitive global paper industry," Catalyst Chairman Michel Desbiens said in a news release.

Catalyst, a British Columbia-based maker of specialty printing papers, newsprint and pulp, has six mills on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and one in Snowflake, Ariz., that handles old newspaper recycling.

Its customers include retailers, publishers and commercial printers in North America, Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe. The company, with sales of over $1 billion (U.S.), trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol CTL.

Like many industries, though, the paper business is undergoing "a huge amount of consolidation," while facing drops in the volume of newspapers, magazines and printed inserts, Clarke said.

"This opportunity as president and CEO of this large paper company really allows me to use my industry knowledge of print and translate it to the paper marketplace," Clarke said. "The opportunity to go in and help them restructure and redirect their business is exciting to me."

Clarke will move to Vancouver but will "live bicoastally," as his wife will remain in Western New York and they will keep their home. She will spend seven or eight days a month out there, while he will come back east at least once a month, he said.

"This is sort of an adventure for both of us," the 58-year-old said.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com