Milwaukee-based Brady Corp. has announced the sudden retirement of president and chief executive officer Frank Jaehnert and the appointment of current senior vice president and chief financial officer Thomas Felmer as interim president and chief executive officer.
At the request of the company’s board of directors, Jaehnert will remain with the firm in a consultative position until Dec. 31 to ensure a sound transition.
He will receive a severance package that includes his full $800,000 salary through the end of 2014.
Allan Klotsche, senior vice president-human resources, who recently submitted his resignation, will be paid an additional $15,000 per month as a stay bonus to remain with Brady for at least three months following Jaehnert’s retirement.
"We are grateful for the service and leadership Frank has provided over the past decade, and we wish him well in the future," said Conrad Goodkind, the lead independent director of Brady's board. "Over the last 10 years, he has led the company through acquisitions and international expansion and Brady has more than doubled its revenues. More recently, he has spearheaded a reorganization that has positioned us for future growth. The board is committed to this process. On behalf of the entire board, I express our appreciation to Frank."
"I have enjoyed working with an exceptional group of talented and special people, and I want to thank all of Brady's employees, leadership team and the board of directors for their support over the years. I am confident that the company is positioned well for the future and will succeed in its plans and continue to be a leader in its markets. I wish Tom Felmer, the executive management team and the Board all the best as they continue to transform the company," Jaehnert said.
Goodkind said that Felmer will retain his responsibilities as CFO and senior vice president while the board conducts a search for a new president and CEO.
"Tom has broad business experience and nearly 25 years with Brady. The board is confident that he will do a great job while the search for Brady's next leader is conducted," Goodkind said. "We have a strong leadership team in place that is committed to growing shareholder value and continuing our goal of exceeding customer expectations."
Goodkind said the search for a new president and CEO will begin as soon as possible.
Brady is an international manufacturer and marketer of complete solutions that identify and protect premises, products and people. Brady's products help customers increase safety, security, productivity and performance and include high-performance labels, signs, safety devices, printing systems and software, and precision die-cut materials.
Brady’s stock was downgraded from “outperform” to “neutral” by Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. in September after Brady reported that it lost $140.8 million in fiscal 2013, compared with net earnings of $102.5 million in the previous year.
“Fiscal 2013 was a year of unprecedented change and transformation for Brady. In addition to reorganizing our businesses around global business platforms, we also engaged in a business simplification process that resulted in a structure that brings us closer to our customers and more effectively supports our growth,” Jaehnert said at the time.