Thor RV president helping with search for Heartland CEO
Posted: 05/02/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Marilyn Odendahl
Brady, one of original investors who started Heartland in January 2005, retired from the company effective Tuesday. In April, he told employees that all the founders had left the Heartland and “after considerable thought and reflection, I have elected to leave too,” according to a story by RV Business.
Speaking after an event at RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum last week, Bob Martin, RV group president at Thor, said no interim chief executive officer will fill Brady’s chair. Instead, Martin will help guide the company and a new leader will be name in roughly a month.
“I’m just going to spend some time there and familiarize myself with people of Heartland and over the next few weeks to a month make the best decision for the company as to who takes over,” Martin said.
He also expressed confidence in the leadership staying at Heartland.
“They’ve got a great group of people over there that can step in,” Martin said. “Brian’s done a great job of assembling a team.”
Brady could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Heartland was acquired by Thor Industries in September 2010 for a reported $200 million. It was Thor’s first major purchase since 2005.
In an interview with RV Business in November 2011, Brady described the acquisition as a win-win for both manufacturers. “We have done exactly what we intended to do and that was to best position Heartland for continued success,” Brady said at that time.
Brady’s departure comes after a string of resignations that began in July 2011 with brothers Ron Fenech, former RV group president, and Bill Fenech, former president of Thor Motor Coach. Don Clark, former president of Dutchmen Manufacturing, turned in his resignation a few months later.
Since then, Jeff Kime has been named president of Thor Motor Coach and Cam Boyer, then vice president of finance at Dutchmen has been promoted to being president of the towable maker. Also, Bob Martin was elevated from the president’s position at Keystone RV to RV group president at Thor and Matt Zimmerman was moved from vice president of sales at Keystone to company president while David Chupp, then Keystone vice president of finance, was named chief operating officer.
Martin said he is still making the switch from one leadership chair to another but his physical proximity to Heartland will allow him to help the company.
“I’m basing more out of Elkhart so I’m very close to Heartland,” Martin said. “I’m there to help them with the transition and with the search for the next person.”