Chairman of Fair Lanes becomes president, CEO

January 27, 1993|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Staff Writer

Mac Clayton, chairman of Fair Lanes Inc., has taken over day-to-day management of the Hunt Valley-based bowling center chain following the resignation of Stephen E. Carley as president and chief executive officer.

Mr. Clayton, who assumed Mr. Carley's former titles, said the two executives parted on "amicable terms."

Yesterday's announcement came just two weeks after Fair Lanes announced a sweeping reorganization designed to put the company's focus squarely on customer service. The plan led to the termination of about 60 managers and assistant managers and the creation of 200 other jobs, many of them as "guest hosts" at Fair Lanes' 112 centers in 18 states.

Mr. Clayton, who was a leader of the group that bought Fair Lanes four years ago, said he had been playing a more active role in the company since he moved to the Baltimore area from Los Angeles last June. The company's reorganization plan, under which Fair Lanes hopes to become the "Nordstrom of bowling," was "my baby," he said.

"Steve was enthusiastically supportive but as I did more and more of a leadership role in it, it became clear I was running the business," Mr. Clayton said. "We didn't need both of us."

Mr. Carley, who came to Fair Lanes in early 1990 after stints at PepsiCo and Taco Bell, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, Fair Lanes released a cordially worded letter from him to Mr. Clayton, dated Friday, in which Mr. Carley said the two men had "mutually concluded" that he should resign to "provide the organization with clear and unambiguous direction."

Mr. Clayton, a 47-year-old lawyer turned investor, said yesterday that he intended to stay at the helm of Fair Lanes for a long time. "This isn't a temporary job," he said.

The new chief executive said the privately held company, which recorded $120 million in sales last year, was in better shape since it refinanced its high-interest debt early last year.

Fair Lanes reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission last year that it had a net loss of $1.68 million for the fiscal year ended June 27, 1992. Mr. Clayton said much of that loss, however, stemmed from the depreciation of assets and that the company's cash flow was strong.

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