Beer, Briatico set to leave Maytag posts

Beer, Briatico set to leave Maytag posts
 
Date January 19, 2005
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
By PETER HUSSMANN

Editor

Two former Maytag appliance division presidents have signed separation agreements with the Newton-based corporation, the final chapter in its six-month-long reorganization process.

Bill Beer, former president of Maytag Appliances, and Tom Briatico, former president of Hoover, will end their 30-plus year associations with Maytag effective Jan. 31.

Beer and Briatico were removed from the posts atop the two separate Maytag divisions when the “one company” reorganization was announced in June. At that time, Maytag said it planned to move both the Maytag Appliances, based in Newton, and Hoover operation, based in North Canton, Ohio, under the Maytag corporate roof in Newton. In addition, plans called for the elimination of 20 percent of the corporation’s salaried workforce nationwide, but with the majority of the 1,100 positions coming from the Newton and North Canton operations.

In announcing the leadership changes, Maytag spokesperson Karen Lynn said the “one company restructuring” has now been completed with the corporation meeting its restructuring goals.

In June, Maytag announced the integration of the Maytag Appliances and Hoover divisions under its corporate banner. The salaried position reductions and streamlined operations was expected to produce a $150 million annual cost savings, something Lynn said Maytag will see in the full year 2005.

“The restructuring will create enhanced value for our retail customers through one sales force and one marketing organization,” Maytag CEO Ralph Hake said at the time of the reorganization. “It will eliminate redundancies across the organization in areas including logistics and administrative functions and will also result in infrastructure cost savings. Maytag will be a much leaner organization, capable of better serving customers and more rapid decision making.”

At the time of the reorganization, Beer and Briatico were removed from a direct line of responsibility and their staffs eliminated. The two were placed in a new Office of the President as executive vice presidents. Their duties involved “substantial assignments” in giving “strategic guidance” to “ensure a smooth transition with the business,” Hake said. The office has now been eliminated.

“Our restructuring is now complete and both of these highly capable executives have decided to pursue the next phase of their lives,” Hake said in Tuesday’s prepared release. “I am grateful for their efforts and wish them well in their endeavors.”

Beer, 52, joined Maytag in 1974 as a market analyst and served in a number of marketing roles in Major Appliances. He was named director of corporate strategy in 1991 and then in 1993 vice president, marketing for Maytag and Admiral products. Beginning in 1996, Beer served as vice president, strategic marketing, responsible for all of the corporation’s major appliance brands. He was named senior vice president, product supply in 1997 and then took on the role of president of Maytag Appliances in 1998.

In August 2000, under the leadership of former CEO Lloyd Ward, Beer was assigned to a new role on corporate staff to support strategic projects. Shortly thereafter, he left the company, although he remained a consultant to Maytag, as well as other companies.

Ward left as Maytag‘s CEO three months later and Len Hadley was lured out of retirement to resume his former chief executive officer position. In January 2001, Hadley brought Beer back to Maytag as president of the corporation’s major appliance division, the job he previously held. Hadley cited Beer’s extensive experience in announcing his return to the corporation.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission report filed on Tuesday in connection with the elimination of the Office of the President, Maytag said Beer will conclude his 31-year career with the Newton-headquartered appliance manufacturer “to pursue personal and other professional opportunities.”

Under the terms of the separation agreement dated Jan. 14, Beer will receive a lump sum payment of $344,300, subject to withholding taxes, within two weeks of return of the signed document. The separation benefit represents 12 months base salary.

In addition, Beer will be eligible for accrued incentive compensation and disbursement from his corporate savings/stock plans. According to last year’s corporate proxy statement, Beer held more than 241,000 shares of Maytag stock.

The separation agreement also calls for Beer to receive a one-time lump sum pension payment of approximately $177,000. In addition, Maytag has agreed to retain Beer as a consultant for a 12-month period at a fee of $100,000 for work on business transaction matters for up to 40 hours a month. He will also receive an allowance for miscellaneous expenses associated with the consulting agreement of $12,500 per quarter.

Briatico, 57, began his career in 1974 with the Magic Chef Corporation in the Admiral Appliances Divisions, where he worked in many financial roles. He served as vice president of finance before being named vice president of manufacturing at Maytag‘s Cleveland Cooking Products in 1988. He was named vice president and general manager at Cleveland in 1995 and then president of Dixie-Narco Vending Systems in 2001. In 2003, he was named president of Hoover. He plans to retire at the end of the month.

Under the terms of the separation agreement filed with the SEC, Briatico will receive a separation benefit of $300,000, an amount equal to 12 months salary. He will also receive his accrued incentive compensation and the right to request disbursement under his stock/savings plan. According to last year’s proxy, Briatico held almost 124,000 shares.

Like Beer, Briatico will be retained as a consultant for Maytag for a 12-month period. He will receive $50,000 for work on Maytag business matters up to eight hours a month. Maytag has also agreed to reimburse him up to $5,000 if the appraised value of his home in North Canton on the date of the sale is less than his purchase price. The SEC filed agreement also shows Briatico will be eligible for a company pension.

In early trading today, Maytag‘s stock had dropped $1.51 to $17.16 with more than three million shares traded. The company also said it planned to stop selling Maytag-branded aplliances at Best Buy citing declining sales.

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