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CPI Fires Pierson as Chief Executive; Krings Succeeds

CPI Corp. (CPIC), which operates photography studios in Sears, Roebuck & Co. department stores, fired J. David Pierson as the company's chief executive officer and chairman.

Jack Krings was named acting chief executive officer, chief operating officer and president, St. Louis-based CPI said in a statement. Krings joined CPI in October 2001 and has served as president of the company's portrait studio division, the company said.

The company hasn't yet begun a search for a permanent replacement, CPI spokeswoman Jane Nelson said in an interview. She declined to comment on why Pierson was removed.

The management change follows a campaign by a group of shareholders led by New York private investment firm Knightspoint Partners LP to oust most of CPI's board. The group complained the company wasn't doing enough to stop a three-year decline in its portrait sittings.

Pierson and former Sears executive James Clifford were the only board members who weren't ousted in March. Clifford resigned from the board last week. David Meyer, a Knightspoint executive who was elected to the board in March, has been elected to replace Pierson as chairman.

CPI shares fell 27 cents to $17 as of 3:59 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 16 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin Orland in Chicago at korland@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor of this story: Glenn Holdcraft at gholdcraft@bloomberg.net.

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