Gary Kleinjan, who resigned as Little Tikes Co. president Sept. 16, has surfaced as the new top executive at the merged pet products giant Dogloo Inc. and Doskocil Manufacturing Co. Inc.
Separately, an executive at the newly merged company said the firm will close Dogloo's 3-year-old structural foam molding factory in Indianapolis.
Larry Rembold, interim president and chief executive officer of Doskocil, said the company will move the plant's six structural foam molding machines to an expanded Doskocil headquarters in Arlington, Texas.
``We're starting construction on a new manufacturing facility'' in Arlington, he said. Dogloo opened the Indianapolis plant in 1994.
Doskocil does structural foam and injection molding.
Rembold did not have current employment numbers at the Indianapolis factory, but when it opened, 200 people worked there. The company also will close a Dogloo sewing factory in Corona, Calif., and move the work to Texas, he said.
Meanwhile, Kleinjan, who becomes president and chief executive officer Oct. 6, called his new post ``an outstanding opportunity for me.''
The company bills itself as the nation's largest nonfood pet products manufacturing company, in a field of smaller players.
``The industry has been pretty fragmented,'' Kleinjan said. ``With the consolidation or merger of these two companies, they have a strong presence both in the kennel and the doghouse business.''
Doskocil, the largest U.S. pet carrier manufacturer, and Dogloo, a major doghouse maker that annually sells 1 million of its doghouses, shaped like igloos, log cabins and other designs, announced Sept. 19 that their merger was finalized. The deal created a company with combined sales of $160 million and 1,000 employees.
Doskocil and Dogloo issued a news release Sept. 23 announcing that Kleinjan would head the combined company. Doskocil has annual sales of about $100 million. Before the merger, Dogloo reported sales of $60 million.
Kleinjan has more than 20 years of management experience in consumer products, including 17 years at Rubbermaid Inc., the housewares maker based in Wooster, Ohio. Before Rubbermaid he worked at vinyl flooring supplier Congoleum Corp. for seven years.
Most recently, from 1994 until this past August, he was president and general manager at Rubbermaid's Little Tikes subsidiary, which makes rotationally molded toys. In August, Rubbermaid moved Kleinjan from his top post at Little Tikes and named him president of sales and corporate accounts, a corporatewide position.
At Doskocil, Kleinjan will replace Rembold, who will continue to serve on the company's board of directors.
The merged firms will be based at Doskocil's headquarters in Arlington, operating under the Doskocil name. Dogloo will be retained as a brand name. Besides pet carriers, Doskocil makes resin outdoor furniture and products for the sporting goods market.
Two California investor groups own a controlling interest in the new Doskocil: Westar Capital of Costa Mesa and Enterprise Partners of Newport Beach.
Westar, a private equity firm, has made 12 equity investments in companies that had collective 1996 sales of more than $2 billion. Enterprise, a venture capital firm, has raised $430 million from institutional investors in four funds. Enterprise has made about 67 investments in a portfolio of companies that together had more than $3.6 billion in revenues.
Doskocil founders Ben and Mary Doskocil have retained a minority stake in the company, and Ben serves as chairman.