Bell and Howell names Ramesh Ratan new CEO

Durham-based Bell and Howell has named a veteran Pitney Bowes executive as its new CEO.

Bell and Howell announced this week that Ramesh Ratan, who previously was president of Pitney Bowes Document Messaging Technologies and president of Pitney Bowes Marketing Service Solutions, will take over as CEO on Jan. 3.

Privately owned Bell and Howell has more than 1,200 employees, including 250 in Durham. The company, which bills itself as a multichannel communications company, is a diversified business that includes manufacturing mail inserting and sorting equipment; providing software for mobile e-commerce; and data marketing services.

Until Ratan arrives, interim CEO Kamal Advani will continue to run Bell and Howell. Advani, who is managing director of Versa Capital – the Philadelphia-based private equity firm that acquired the business in 2011 – took charge on an interim basis when former CEO Leslie Stern stepped down for personal reasons at the end of September.

Ratan has an MBA and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a former executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Direct Marketing Association.

Staff writer David Ranii