Cincinnati-based Milacron Inc. announced April 18 that Ronald Brown, its chairman, president and chief executive officer, will retire by the end of the year.
In a news release, Brown, who is 54, said he will continue in his current capacity until a successor is named and will work with that person to assure a smooth transition.
Brown joined Milacron in 1980. He served in several positions, including chief financial officer, president and chief operating officer, before being elected chairman and chief executive officer in 2001.
``I am honored to have had the opportunity to lead a great organization like Milacron,'' Brown said in the release.
``While the current economic environment is certainly challenging, I am very optimistic about Milacron's long-term prospects,'' he said.
Milacron board member Larry Yost credited Brown with helping to transform Milacron into a global company by significantly expanding its presence outside the United States.
The maker of injection presses, blow molding machines, extruders, structural foam machines and industrial fluids lost $88.8 million in 2007. Most of the loss was because of a $63 million write-down of tax assets ($63 million) and restructuring charges ($12.5 million).
In 2006, Milacron lost $39.7 million, which included $19.2 million in restructuring costs and refinancing charges. The last time Milacron made a profit was 2000.
Eli Lustgarten, an analyst with Longbow Research in Independence, Ohio, would not speculate on whether Milacron's financial woes spurred Brown out the door.
``He's been there a long time, so obviously, the buck stops there,'' Lustgarten said.
Bayside Capital Inc., a Miami-based investment group, in October took controlling interest in Milacron, purchasing a stake from Glencore Finance AG, the Swiss raw materials conglomerate that in 2004 funded a major refinancing of Milacron's debt.
Milacron incorporated in 1884 as the Cincinnati Screw and Tap Co. During the 1960s, the company began developing plastics processing machines, culminating in its first injection molding press in 1968.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the renamed Cincinnati Milacron expanded into blow molding and extrusion machinery. By the 1990s, Milacron also was offering molds and tooling, replacement parts, supplies, services and plastics processing support. Subsequently, it acquired several companies to strengthen those lines of business, including KlÃ¶ckner Ferromatik, D-M-E Co., and Johnson Control Inc.'s Uniloy division, and shortened its name to Milacron Inc.
The company will release its first-quarter 2008 results in a conference call May 6.