Anyone who blinked during Joseph Gingo's first 100 days of calling the shots at compounder A. Schulman Inc. probably missed something. Most recently, the Fairlawn, Ohio-based firm has made some changes in its executive ranks while also reporting a loss of almost $4 million for the second quarter of its fiscal 2008.
Gingo became Schulman's chairman, president and chief executive officer earlier this year. He immediately announced a 100-day plan to improve the performance of the company.
``Progress is evident as we reach the end of the period covered by my initial 100-day plan,'' he said in an April 4 news release. ``I am excited about the sense of urgency demonstrated by our entire organization as we take the steps necessary to transform our company and generate greater value for stockholders.''
Officials confirmed Schulman executives Barry Rhodes and Gary Elek are no longer with the company. Rhodes, a 24-year Schulman veteran, most recently served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the firm's North American unit. Schulman will pay Rhodes almost $1 million in separation pay, according to an April 9 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2006, Rhodes' total compensation from Schulman - including salary and bonus - was almost $370,000.
Elek joined Schulman in 2004 and had served as vice president and controller for North America since 2006. The firm's North American unit has struggled for several years because of a downturn in automotive work and high resin prices. It posted a combined pretax loss of $36 million in fiscal 2006 and 2007.
On March 27, Schulman announced that the firm's four North American business units would report directly to Gingo.
``I've got a lot of operating experience,'' Gingo said in an April 10 telephone interview. ``And if you look at the economy today and the history of [Schulman] in North America, you can see that we didn't need another layer of management between me and those operations.''
Gingo ended a 41-year career with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. when he took the helm at Schulman. He had been a Schulman board member since 2000. At Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear, Gingo served as that firm's chief technical officer and executive vice president of quality systems. He also had been a member of Goodyear's turnaround team.
On April 3, Schulman named Gary Miller to the new position of vice president of global supply chain and chief procurement officer. In that role, Miller will oversee the firm's supply chain and procurement activities to leverage its worldwide purchasing power, officials said. He'll also oversee Schulman's resin distribution business.
Miller joins Schulman after a 35-year career with Goodyear. Miller was Goodyear's vice president and chief procurement officer. He led the industrial giant's global purchasing activities for the past 16 years and also served as president of Goodyear/SRI Global Purchasing Co., a joint venture between Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. of Tokyo.
``We are fortunate to have [Miller] on board to lead our efforts in this critical area,'' Gingo said in a news release. Gingo and Miller have known each other for more than 25 years and worked closely together during their time at Goodyear.
``Gary [Miller] had been chief purchasing officer at Goodyear, where he was in charge of a $10 billion spend,'' Gingo said. ``He retired in December and I asked him to assess [Schulman's] purchasing arrangement. He said we needed a chief purchasing officer, so I said, `Good, why don't you take the job?'''
In addition to these moves, Schulman has hired UBS Investment Bank of New York to explore ``strategic alternatives,'' including a possible sale of the company. In a recent interview, Gingo said that hiring UBS was part of Schulman's recent settlement with disgruntled shareholder Barington Capital Group LP. At the time, Gingo added that Schulman ``isn't saying our only option is to sell.''
The recent flurry of activity at Schulman also includes the closing of a plant in St. Thomas, Ontario; the sale of a plant in Orange, Texas; and the redirection of Schulman's fledgling Invision plastic sheet business. A new Findlay, Ohio, plant that had been designated for Invision work will be used instead for color compound production.