business, John H. Harland Co. has hired former First Financial Management Corp. executive Robert J. Amman as its president and chief executive officer. Mr. Amman, 57, who was vice chairman at Atlanta-based First Financial before it was taken over by First Data Corp. last month, will assume John H. Harland's CEO mantle this week from Robert R. Woodson, who will retain his title as chairman at the Atlanta-based firm. Before his stint at First Financial, Mr. Amman was chief executive officer at Western Union Corp., the top provider of money transfer services to consumers. First Financial acquired Western Union in 1994 for $1.2 billion. After arranging that deal, Mr. Amman was tapped to head First Financial's hugely profitable merchant services division, which included Western Union and Nabanco, a leading processor of bank card transactions for retailers. "We began our search last spring, seeking a president and chief operating officer," said Mr. Woodson. "However, Bob Amman's background and availability motivated me to reexamine our plans. Because his proven skills and CEO experience were of such unparalleled caliber and so closely aligned with Harland's objectives, I recommended the board offer him both the chief executive officer and president positions." Mr. Amman will take over the CEO reins at a time when Harland has been trying to complement its core check printing business by moving into software and technology services for financial firms. But the diversification strategy hasn't paid off yet. Last month Harland posted third-quarter 1995 net income of $11 million, or 36 cents a share, off from $13.1 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier. Over the last year, the company's price-to-earnings ratio has remained stuck at around 13, well below most other publicly traded bank technology firms. Mr. Amman has earned a reputation on Wall Street as a turnaround artist. After joining Western Union in 1988, he successfully restructured the money-losing telecommunications company by focusing on its cash-cow money transfer business. "He has extensive experience in financial services, electronic transactions and international expansion, and he has successfully acquired and re-engineered several prominent companies," Mr. Woodson said. "His credentials and knowledge will be invaluable to us as we continue to shape and grow Harland for the future."
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