NEWCASTLE, Ontario—Tim Toppen wasn't looking to become a top executive at AirBoss of America Corp. or, for that matter, any other company just a few months ago.
He was quite happy serving as chairman and CEO of TruVitals Inc., a small medical device company he launched with partner Bob Herbolich in September 2011.
But a phone call or two from Gren Schoch, chairman of AirBoss, dramatically changed all that.
Schoch wanted Toppen to take over as president of the rubber compounder and diverse rubber product manufacturer, assuming many of the management duties of President and CEO Robert Hagerman, who is on extended medical leave to recover from injuries sustained in an accident.
It didn't take long for Toppen to accept the offer because, he said, the timing was right. He knew the president's post was almost tailor-made for him. He took over the position Jan. 6.
In Hagerman's absence, Schoch has become interim CEO, and Stephen Richards, vice president of finance for the last eight years, has assumed the additional duties of chief operating officer. Schoch has been chairman of AirBoss since 1989 and is a substantial shareholder in the firm, while Richards joined AirBoss in April 2005 as its chief financial officer.
One of the original directors of AirBoss, Hagerman has been CEO of the company since 1992. He has been instrumental in building the firm since then and turning it into a solid, multi-faceted business, Schoch said.
Hagerman, who also is a large shareholder of Newcastle-based AirBoss, is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries, although it may take some time, according to Schoch.
Hagerman will remain a director of the company during his leave and will be available to both the board of directors and the executive management team for strategic input, Schoch said. Meanwhile, he added, the company is in very good hands.