Chris W. Metz, the owner of McHenry, Ill.-based injection molder Novation Industries, was arrested on child pornography charges on Nov. 30.
CEO Scott Baxter said Metz has not been actively involved in the company since 2012 and that the business is operating as usual.
In a phone interview with Plastics News, Baxter and President Lee Shawback said they were "disgusted" by the news.
"This is not representative of the core values we have as a company. This has been very unsettling for us," Baxter said.
Novation employees were told about the arrest on Dec. 6, and the company is also in the process of contacting its customers.
Baxter said he and Shawback are working with a lawyer on a letter of intent to do a management buyout of the company.
"We want to distance the company from the bad choices that the owner made," Baxter said.
Baxter added that workers were assured there is no legal impact on the business.
"That was a key question for employees," Baxter said.
Baxter said that on Nov. 28, law enforcement officials came to the company with a warrant for computers and hard drives in Metz's office. On Nov. 30, the McHenry Police Department filed a fugitive complaint for Metz's arrest in Oconto County, Wis. He was arrested that day and waived extradition on Dec. 1.
According to McHenry County, Ill., jail records, Metz was jailed on Dec. 5 and released the next day. According to the McHenry County Police Department, Metz was charged with one count of child pornography, which is a felony. The case remains under investigation.
Metz is the second-generation owner of Novation Industries. According to court papers, Metz first joined the company in 1979. He left a year later, then rejoined in 1982. The company was founded by his father, Bill Metz, in 1967.
Baxter joined as chief operating officer in 2009 and was promoted to president in 2012.
"I've been running the company since 2012. [Chris Metz] comes in once every two months or so," Baxter said.
Novation has about 70 employees and annual sales of $18 million. The company was open and busy during the early days of COVID-19 since it was already a major manufacturer of goggles and face shields before the pandemic.
"We were told by FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] to produce as many face shields as we could, and we were happy to oblige," Baxter said.
Novation specializes in injection molding and contract manufacturing including design, sourcing and logistics. Key end markets include medical, merchandising, automotive, consumer, electronics, industrial and packaging.