Update: Thomas Equipment Fires, Hires CEO

Posted on June 15, 2006

Thomas Equipment Inc., a manufacturer of a range of small equipment including skid-steer and mini skid-steer loaders, attachments, mobile screening plants, mini excavators and potato harvesting and handling equipment, announced the firing of President and Chief Executive Clifford Rhee. The company said Rhee was fired “for cause,” but did not elaborate. The company also said the firing was part of the company's restructuring efforts . Chief Operating Officer James E. Patty was named interim CEO.

Then on June 20th, the company announced that Patty would stay as CEO and Dr. William Davis, who had been a consultant, was named chief operating officer.

The company said it intends to recruit an individual with direct industry experience for the position of president and is exploring the addition of other executives to complete its senior management team. Finally, the company is conducting a search for additional directors with extensive corporate and industry experience.

Thomas' restructuring plan stems from its disappointing operating and financial results, the company said. Thomas Equipment shares have fallen about 69% since the beginning of the year, and have traded in a 52-week range of $2.15 to $6.10.

The restructuring, which will be led by Patty, will impact Thomas' supply chain, working capital management, operating procedures and executive staff, as well as other business areas. "We believe the restructuring plan will take approximately six months to complete,” Patty said in a statement. “During this time, we plan to provide our customers, suppliers, distributors, employees, creditors and investors with regular updates regarding our process."