LAKEWOOD, NJ -- Jack Guarnieri said he has stepped down as president and chief executive of Elaut USA. He held the top post for more than three years.
A year ago, Guarnieri, a 36-year coin machine veteran, announced the formation of Jersey Jack Pinball, a pinball machine manufacturing company that he would lead separate from Elaut USA. | SEE STORY
Guarnieri hailed his record at the American division of Elaut. Among his accomplishments are the "turnaround" of Monduce into a profitable operation and landing the Kings Island account (Mason, OH) for Monduce, which will begin operating in the park in the 2012 season. He is also credited with introducing the idea for Elaut's Wizard of Oz Pusher, one of last year's most successful amusement games. In late 2009, Elaut USA moved into a new building in Lakewood, NJ.
Belgian amusement pioneer Elaut nv/sa began its U.S. expansion in 2008 with the acquisition of Monduce Inc., a major operating company specializing in arcade concessions at amusement parks. The same year, Elaut appointed Guarnieri to run its American interests. Guarnieri also continued to run his own Pinballsales.com, one of the largest resellers of classic coin machines.
Elaut was founded by Achiel Verstraeten in the late 1950s. He invented a mechanism for prize cranes that featured three motors on an independent carriage. That innovation contributed to the subsequent takeoff of cranes as the most successful segment of the redemption game business. Today, Elaut continues to develop a wide range of cranes, along with redemption and gaming equipment, and is still run by the Verstraeten family. It is headquartered in Sint-Niklaas (East Flanders, Belgium). The company has not named a U.S. division successor to Guarnieri.
Jersey Jack Pinball's first model, the Wizard of Oz, is scheduled to enter production on March 13. Guarnieri said his goal is to build 2,000 games this year; the company reported receiving down payments for 1,000 preorders. A factory is being assembled in Lakewood, NJ, and is expected to employ more than 80 people.