EdisonReport Names Vern Nagel its 2015 Person of the Year

Nashville, TN, 21 DEC 2015–Disruption.  This is the buzzword in today’s investment community.   If you are pitching a startup in Silicon Valley, you need to convince the Sand Hill Road gang that you can disrupt existing channels. 

Acuity Brands does not disrupt channels, instead they work the channel, not exploiting the model, but deeply embracing it.  In most markets Acuity has the number one or number two rep.  As one major competitor seems bent on self-destruction, Acuity has been able to cherry pick their best reps. 

Page 2 of their 2014 Annual Report states,  “Acuity Brands, Inc. is a North American market leader and one of the world’s leading providers of lighting solutions for both indoor and outdoor applications.  Your humble editor believes that statement is much too humble.  Acuity Brands is THE undisputed North America market leader and may be the world’s leader.  


The above graph is telling.  We plotted key market events since 2001, when Mr. Nagel joined as Executive Vice President and CFO.  The stock stood at $11.32.  Today that stock has soared to $239—over a 10% gain just since the announcement of the Juno acquisition on 29 OCT.  Since the beginning of 2015, Acuity has rallied more than 60 percent.   Even with this tremendous gain, Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed its “Buy” rating last week. 

Under Mr. Nagel’s leadership, there have been key acquisitions including Mark Architectural Lighting, Sensor Switch, Winona, EldoLED, ByteLight and capping off with Juno. There have been key new businesses such as SAERIS and ROAM.  There is one short-lived business, Acculamp, which was discontinued in 2014.  If Acculamp was a misstep, it’s the only one we can find.  Remember, Google was in the cell phone business for a few years, before existing. 

The transition from legacy products to LED has terrified CEO’s, many of whom are no longer CEO’s.  Acuity, under Mr. Nagel’s leadership, solved the legacy products issue and their company has soared through the transition.  It is as if the more that LED technology disrupted the industry, the stronger Acuity became by not disrupting. 

I fully support Vern Nagels’s nomination for EdisonReport’s Person of the Year 2015.  Vern saw the importance of Controllability in Lighting very early on and has built an impressive portfolio of competencies and capabilities, making Acuity Brands a clear leader in this field.  Another compliment is Acuity’s Channel discipline, respecting the role and responsibility of each channel partner in the value chain.Kaj den Daas, President and CEO, TCP

“We appreciate our over two-decade long close business relationship with Acuity Brands.  We especially admire the vision of Vern Nagel and his management team that understand the rapidly changing global lighting market, which has helped to drive Acuity Brands to continuous growth as a leading player and complete solutions provider in the global lighting markets.”–Sebastian Steuer, Managing Director, Alanod

“I do believe that Vern Nagel is deserving of your EdisonReport Person of the Year.  I liked the company so I bought stock along the way.  That stock is worth a lot of money today…I do believe that ABL is one of the best run and best organized customers that we have.  They have been our largest BBS/A.L.P. customer for many, many years”.—William Brown, Chairman, A.L.P. Lighting Components, Inc

EdisonReport’s Previous Persons of the Year include:

  • Bill Hanley
  • Chuck Swoboda
  • Bruno Biasiotta
  • Al Ruud
  • Libby Morley
  • Larry Powers

About EdisonReport.  EdisonReport was founded in 1999 and is focused on the Business of Lighting™.  

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