Black & Decker losing another division head

Heiner accepts a `compelling' offer to be CEO of Werner

Lauded by Archibald

Executive suite

June 11, 1999|By Sean Somerville | Sean Somerville,SUN STAFF

Less than two months after Black & Decker Corp. lost the head of its power tools division, the company said yesterday that its building products division president will leave next week to run a privately held Pennsylvania-based company.

Dennis G. Heiner, the president of the Black & Decker division that includes Kwikset locks and Price Pfister plumbing fixtures, will join Greenville, Pa.-based Werner Co. as president and chief executive officer.

Heiner, 55, a 14-year veteran of Black & Decker, said his departure should not be viewed as a negative reflection on the Towson-based company. "I had an unsolicited offer that was so compelling financially and professionally that I couldn't turn it down," Heiner said.

Heiner will replace Don Werner, who is stepping down as chief executive officer to become chairman of Werner, which manufactures and distributes ladders.

The move comes seven weeks after Black & Decker announced the resignation of Joseph Galli, the 41-year-old president of power tools viewed by many as an eventual successor to Nolan D. Archibald, Black & Decker's chairman, president and chief executive officer.

At the time, Archibald said Galli had "expressed an interest in advancing his management career" and that "it makes sense for him to pursue this goal outside of Black & Decker."

In a statement yesterday, Archibald praised Heiner for "significant contributions" to Black & Decker over the past 14 years. "Although we are sorry to see him go, we congratulate him on achieving his goal of becoming a CEO and wish him well in his new career," he said.

Nicholas P. Heymann, an analyst with Prudential Securities in New York, said the departures of Galli and Heiner are unrelated and that the company is poised to have a strong year.

"Dennis Heiner's decision to leave the company was one he made because of a significant opportunity for advancement that he apparently did not see at Black & Decker," Heymann said.

Heiner, who was promoted early this year from president of security hardware to president of building products, said his departure was amicable.

"I respect Nolan," said Heiner, who worked with Archibald at Beatrice Companies Inc. before the two men joined Black & Decker in 1985. "I've worked for him for a long time. He understood this was a compelling opportunity and wished me well."

Black & Decker's building products group generated sales of $851 million -- about 20 percent of total sales. "It has performed well and it's performing well now," Heymann said.

Until a successor is named, the building products group will report directly to Archibald. The group's management includes Chris Metz, president of the Kwikset security hardware business; Les Ireland, president of Price Pfister plumbing products; and Rolf Grosche, president of security hardware in Europe.

Black & Decker's shares fell $1.3125 to $54.3125 yesterday.

Black & Decker reported first-quarter net earnings of $39.2 million, or 44 cents per share. Heymann has a "strong buy" rating on the shares. "This is a company with the wind at its back," he said.

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