Richard D. Hofmann is the new president and chief executive officer of Kerr Group Inc., succeeding D. Gordon Strickland, who left the company Aug. 29.
Hofmann takes charge in the wake of two years of financial and operational restructuring and upheaval at the plastic packaging maker. Fremont Partners LP concluded a successful tender offer for Kerr's stock Aug. 26 and controls a newly organized Kerr board that appointed Hofmann.
``Kerr has a great reputation in the closures business and as it relates to the distilled spirits and pharmaceuticals businesses,'' Hofmann said in a telephone interview. ``Now well-funded, Kerr can move forward.''
Fremont, a private San Francisco investment fund, was formed in September 1996 under sponsorship of the Fremont Group. Bechtel family members own a majority of Fremont Group.
Hofmann is chairman of New Canaan Investments Inc. of Stamford, Conn., another investor in Kerr. He intends to spend most of his time at Kerr's headquarters in Lancaster, Pa. He worked for the former Continental Can Co. from 1962-87, lastly as president and chief operating officer of the $3 billion packaging concern. In the past decade, he has been involved in management projects involving contract packaging, metal cutting and coating, and related businesses.
Kerr named Strickland president and CEO in March 1996. He had been senior finance president and chief executive officer since 1986 and, concurrently, was president of Kerr's consumer products division for 1995-96.
Kerr products include child-resistant and tamper-evident closures, prescription packaging items, jars and other closures and containers. Kerr lost $22.3 million on 1996 sales of $107.4 million.