The search for a permanent CEO for Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. is on schedule and the company is “hopeful to have the selection completed shortly,” according to Thomas Pitcher, Fleetwood’s interim chairman and head of the CEO Search Committee.
Pitcher added, during a conference call with investment analysts earlier this week, that there will be more additions to Fleetwood’s senior management after the permanent CEO is selected.
“The search is progressing well, we remain on schedule,” said Pitcher, a retired attorney from the Los Angeles area. “We’ve spoken to a number of very good candidates, which is a real tribute to our company. We are even more confident now than when we started the process that we will choose the right leader for Fleetwood.”
The CEO search committee wants someone with “a lot of experience in manufacturing and distribution” preferably in consumer products, Pitcher said. Fleetwood’s permanent CEO also needs to be “someone who’s a proven leader for an enterprise of this size.”
Fleetwood had $2.28 billion in sales revenue during its fiscal year 2002, which ended April 28, making it the largest RV manufacturer and it is in a tight race for the top spot among manufactured home producers.
However, Fleetwood reported a net loss of $161.9 million for its fiscal 2002 and a $284 million loss during its fiscal 2001, which explains why Nelson Potter, Fleetwood’s former president and CEO, was asked to resign in February.
Since Potter’s departure, David Engelman, a retired financial services firm executive, has served as Fleetwood’s interim CEO.
During the conference call, analyst Barry Vogel, whose firm bears his name, reiterated his opinion that Fleetwood needs to hire more than a CEO because “you really need someone to run the RV business. It’s really too much for Chuck (Wilkinson, executive vice president-operations) to handle.”
Pitcher replied, “You have to start with the CEO. You don’t try to fill all those positions without the CEO in place. Right now, we’re focusing on the CEO.”
Engelman added that Wilkinson, whose experience was in manufactured housing until he was given added responsibility for Fleetwood’s RV Group last September, “has an awful lot of responsibility and that, in the near future, there will be some senior management additions in those areas under Chuck’s operations.
“Right now, he (Wilkinson) is doing a splendid job and the results are quite obvious with his newly constituted group,” Engelman said. “We will be filling out the organization in the very near future starting as Tom (Pitcher) mentioned with the CEO. That will unfold in the coming months.”