Natrol Promotes DeMello, Surmeian; Announces Aggressive Corporate Realignment; Million Plus Computer Investment

CHATSWORTH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 14, 2002--Natrol, Inc. (Nasdaq:NTOL), a manufacturer and marketer of branded dietary supplements, today announced a series of key promotions, a major computer conversion, and a realignment of sales, marketing, operations and finance personnel "designed," according to Elliott Balbert, Natrol's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, "to aggressively address changes in the vitamin, mineral and supplement landscape and to position the company to drive revenues and earnings."

Gary DeMello, Natrol's Vice President of Operations, is assuming the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer, responsible for all non-financial aspects of the Company, including sales, marketing, human resources and manufacturing. Mr. DeMello is a 10 year veteran of Natrol with more than 20 years of experience in the natural products industry. "Gary DeMello is the best make it happen, get it right person I know," said Balbert. "During his years with Natrol, Gary has proven time and time again that he can get more done, quicker, than any executive I've known."

Michael Surmeian, Natrol's Director of Sales Administration, will assume the position of Vice President of Sales (filling the void left by Jon Denis, who was simultaneously promoted to Prolab, President) and will report to Mr. DeMello.

Mr. Surmeian joined Natrol in 1998 as Director of Finance after a 10 year career with Ernst & Young. In 2000, he moved to sales administration working with Mr. Denis to develop and manage the Company's selling efforts. He leveraged his strong financial background to help create unique promotional and sales programs, provided essential guidance to all sales and administration personnel and exhibited superior organizational skills to coordinate the company's multi-channel distribution strategy.

"These promotions draw upon Natrol's best, as we raise the bar on our enhanced drive to regain top line growth and bottom line earnings," said Balbert when making the announcements. "These top Natrol executives were directly responsible for managing Natrol back from negative EBITDA of $2.7 million in 2000 to positive EBITDA of $4.7 million in 2001. Every department, from finance to product development, is now being reorganized to take advantage of and to expand upon the talents of these and other Natrol senior executives. The investment in these people and in new tier-one SAP computer systems positions Natrol for future growth."

"Dennis Jolicoeur, our Executive Vice President of Finance and CFO, has worked for nearly a year to select the best in enterprise resource planning software for the Company. Our million plus dollar investment in SAP software to manage production, operations, finance, and sales information systems will deliver additional benefits. As a result, we expect Natrol will be a more nimble company, able to respond more quickly to changing trends and our customers' needs," concluded Balbert.

Along with these senior level promotions, the following announcements were made:

  • Mr. Richard Hunnewell was promoted to Director of Planning, Purchasing and Inventory Control.
  • Mr. Kurt Kirkland was promoted to Director of Warehouse and Plant Operations.
  • Ms. Lynn Schrempf was promoted to Natrol Controller.
  • Ms. Christina Bodnar was promoted to Assistant Controller.
  • Ms. Gayle Kelly was promoted to Office Manager.
  • Ms. Gina Ferrato was promoted to Senior Manager of Sales and Marketing Services.
  • Ms. Ellen Driscoll was promoted to Senior Manager of Food, Drug and Mass Services.

"These promotions," concluded Balbert, "are part of the most far-reaching restructuring Natrol has ever undergone, a restructuring that management believes sets the stage for our companies to regain top and bottom line momentum thereby delivering growth to our shareholders. The strength of any company is measured by its people and, on that score, I'll stack this team up against the best of the best in our industry. I am proud of every Natrol employee and feel privileged to work along side them."

The statements made in this press release which are not historical facts including statements regarding expectations for future growth of revenue and profits, trends concerning net sales, industry trends, and statements concerning demand for the Company's products, future returns, inventory levels, sales incentives and related expenditures are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. As a result of a number of factors, including the factors described above and factors that Natrol may not currently foresee, Natrol's actual results could differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Certain factors that might cause Natrol's actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements include continuing adverse trends in the dietary supplements industry, intense competition, adverse effects of unfavorable publicity regarding particular products or the Company's industry generally, the Company's dependence on the introduction of successful new products, the Company's ability to gain market share and shelf space in each of its distribution channels, the Company experiencing high rates of product returns, the need and expense of providing sales incentives to the Company's customers, and adverse government regulation, as well as those factors set forth under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2001 and in the Company's other filings with Securities and Exchange Commission.

--30--ec/la* ss/la
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