FAIRLAWN, Ohio—A. Schulman Inc. has unveiled another top-level management change.
The firm said in an Oct. 3 statement that John Richardson will take over as chief financial officer, effective Nov. 1.
Richardson, who most recently served as CFO of Denver-based Qwest Communications in 2008, will replace current Schulman CFO Joseph Levanduski, who joined the firm in 2011. He will stay on in his current role until Richardson's replacement becomes effective, the company said.
“Joe has been a stalwart leading A. Schulman's global finance, information technology and corporate development functions over the last five years, a period of substantial acquisition growth including the company's largest-ever acquisition,” Chairman and CEO Joe Gingo said. “We thank Joe for his many contributions and wish him every continued success as he has chosen to pursue new career opportunities.”
The change comes as Fairlawn-based Schulman goes through a turbulent time following its problematic 2013 acquisition of Indiana-based Citadel Plastics for $800 million. While the deal added about $550 million to Schulman's annual revenues, effectively doubling the company's size, it quickly soured.
It has since prompted Schulman to restate its earnings guidance, to struggle with Citadel's former operations and to sue Citadel's former owners and executives for alleged fraud in misrepresenting the company and its finances prior to the transaction.
Gingo, who was chairman when that deal was done, said he and others at Schulman would have never agreed to buy Citadel if they had been told the truth about its condition. He added that Schulman lost credibility last year when it twice surprised the market by adjusting its earnings guidance downward—for a total of 70 cents per share. The second time that happened, in August when the company reduced its annual earnings estimate from $2.45 to $1.95 per share, the company's stock price plunged more than 30 percent to a little more than $21 per share.
That caused the company's board to replace then-CEO Bernard Rzepka with Gingo, who was also CEO of the company from 2008 to 2014.
Richardson is likely a known commodity to Gingo. Both previously held executive positions at Akron-based Goodyear, where Gingo was an executive vice president before joining Schulman in 2007.
Before he joined Qwest in 2003, Richardson had been a vice president of corporate finance and chief accounting officer at Goodyear, as well as chairman and general manager of the company's British operations.
“John is a consummate leader and business savvy innovator who has an exceptional track record of optimizing an enterprise's intrinsic value creation proposition,” Gingo said. “He is ideally suited to be a timely financial and operational strategist and catalyst as A. Schulman reinvigorates its five-year growth plans.”
Richardson will report to Gingo in his new role. But he'll also likely work closely with Citi, which Schulman hired in August as an outside adviser to review its operations and help the company develop a plan to move forward.
The company's path ahead could entail selling some of its businesses, or even the company outright, or it could be along a longer route that leads to Schulman's ongoing independence, both Gingo and analysts say.
Gingo said the company will announce further plans, probably late this year.