As has been reported. Viking President Fred Carl is resigning his position, effective immediately. He will remain for a short while as consultant to smooth the transition. As well, at least 140 Viking employees are being layed off. We will provide analysis later
1: Mr. Carl’s letter to the Viking Family and the Viking Distributor network. (see below).
2: Mr. Carl’s abbreviated statement: Exclusive (bottom)
1: Fred Carl’s Letter to Distribution
From: Fred Carl
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2013 9:38 AM
To: NAMES REMOVED BY APPLIANCEADVISOR.COM
Cc: NAMES REMOVED BY APPLIANCEADVISOR.COM
Well, I thought I could do it but I couldn’t. It’s time for me to move on. Please see below email.
I will miss seeing and doing business with all of you. I want to thank you for all of your support over the years as I built Viking, beginning with our first shipments in January of 1987. We’ve built a strong brand together and it’s my hope that Viking will continue to be the iconic brand that it has become for many years to come.
I hope to see you from time to time and wish you all the best.
From: Fred Carl
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:16 PM
To: #Viking Enterprise Wide
Dear fellow members of the Viking family:
In my company-wide email to you on December 31st, I said that at some point in the not too distant future it would be time for me to ride off into the sunset. I felt that the time for me to fade away would be months down the road, maybe even a couple of years. But over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a whole lot of soul searching to try and get my mind and my heart in the right place about what I should do. After much thought, reflection, prayer and gut wrenching self-assessment, I have made the incredibly difficult decision that the time for me to move on is now. I have come to this conclusion for several reasons.
I will be 65 in two weeks, which is hard for me to believe. I have no idea where the time has gone but find myself at the twilight of my years without having done a lot of the things that I want to do before I die. There are a lot of places I want to go and there’s a lot that I want to accomplish and I don’t want time to run out before I’m able to pursue these things. I must also say that Liston’s sudden death two years ago this month at the age of 64 and less than a year before when he had planned to retire had a major impact on my thought process. I’m not going to live forever and that has finally hit me loud and clear.
There’s also new ownership of Viking now. The company is owned by Middleby now, not by me and my Stephens partners, and this is the beginning of a new era at Viking. It occurred to me that the Founder hanging around would just not be a good idea and that I needed to get out of the way and turn the reins over to the new regime and move on. I think it’s best for me to step aside and let Middleby and the executive management team takeover and carry out what Middleby feels is the best strategic direction for the long-term growth and wellbeing of the company.
My family was also a major consideration, of course. They haven’t seen enough of me over the past 25 years or so, unfortunately. I want to spend more time with Margaret and with my son, Chris, and I know that the only way I’ll be able to do that is to make a clean break and make time for them. That’s one of the most important factors in my making this extremely important decision.
And finally, the fact is that I’m just worn out. As I said in my most recent company-wide emails and as I know you wholeheartedly agree, these last four years have been extraordinarily challenging and difficult. Not to whine or sound like a wimp, but they took a whole lot out of me and have taken their toll and I just don’t have it anymore like I once did. If I were 45 or even 55, I’d still be full of fire and brimstone and ready to hit it hot and heavy now that the economy is turning around. But I’m not 45 or 55 and I must recognize and accept that and listen to my heart and my mind….and my body…..when they tell me that it’s time to slow down.
One thing that has given me comfort in making this decision is the high degree of confidence I have that Viking will remain in Greenwood and, despite the fact that some tough decisions are having to be made, that Viking is going to once again prosper under Middleby’s ownership. Middleby has its own way of doing things and I respect that and understand that they want to reset the company in a way that will maximize its future performance. I have every confidence that Viking will remain a healthy company and will continue to be a major factor in Greenwood going forward, which was one of our most important considerations in our selling to Middleby.
Although I am retiring from Viking as President and CEO, I will be staying on in a consulting capacity for a short while to assist Selim Bassoul and Tim FitzGerald, CEO and CFO of Middleby, with this transition. I honestly feel that Viking will be stronger than ever moving forward and will soon be blowing and going again like we did in our rock and roll years of the past. I truly believe that and hope that everyone will bear with Middleby and help Viking in every way possible as it is repositioned for future growth and prosperity.
I’m also comforted knowing that I’m leaving Viking’s day-to-day management in good hands. The executive management team, consisting of Brian Waldrop, Ron Ussery, Steve Ingham and Jim Shad, will now be in charge and I know they’ll do a great job. They are highly competent, heavily experienced, seasoned executives with extensive knowledge of the company and I know they will have in mind only what’s in the best interest of Viking and its employees and customers in every decision that they make. Viking will be in good hands under their management.
I want to thank each and every one of you for all of your contributions to making Viking what it is today and for all that you have done for me to help build this company. Your hard work, dedication and loyalty will never be forgotten and your friendship will always be appreciated and cherished. I wish you all the very best and will be watching from the sidelines to see Viking continue to be the great company that you have h
elped it become. Take care.
2: Exclusive Statement from Fred Carl 2/3/13
“I’ve been my own boss for 35 plus years and the transition was more difficult than I expected. The big public company world just isn’t for me.”