NEW YORK — In a move to cut costs, polyester maker Wellman Inc. shook up its executive ranks on Tuesday, eliminating four top positions and jettisoning an unspecified number of executives.

This story first appeared in the November 5, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

It said the cuts would save about $20 million to $25 million annually.

The Shrewsbury, N.J.-based company said in a statement that Clifford J. Christenson has resigned as president, chief operating officer and director and that the post of chief operating officer has been eliminated.

Joseph Tucker, who had served as vice president of corporate development, has been named vice president of the fibers and recycled products group. His old post has been abolished. Tucker succeeds John Hobson, who has been named to the new post of vice president of Wellman Europe.

The company said it had also done away with the post of chief administrative officer. According to Wellman’s Web site, that post was last held by Ernest G. Taylor. According to a source, he has left the company.

Wellman also said it was eliminating the position of vice president of fiber strategy and new products. According to Wellman’s Web site, that post was last held by Donald Cartwright.

A spokesman for the company refused to provide further information, citing concerns about Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure policies.

The company said it plans to cut costs in its fiber and recycled products group by focusing on selling the products it already has, while cutting back on new product development.

“We are committed to reducing costs to improve our competitive position,” chairman and chief executive officer Tom Duff said in the statement.

The company statement said “other administrative consolidations are under way,” but did not provide further details.

According to the company’s Web site, there were eight vice president posts at Wellman before the restructuring. The release did not address four posts: vice president of marketing for fibers, held by John Anderson; vice president and treasurer, held by Audrey Goodman; vice president and chief accounting officer, held by Mark Ruday, and vice president of PET resins for the U.S., held by Michael E. Dewsbury, though Dewsbury was quoted in the release.

In the nine months ended Sept. 30, Wellman reported net income of $1.5 million on sales of $833.4 million.

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