The president of Wynn's International, frustrated in his recent attempt to acquire the company, has been replaced by a rival suitor in a move one industry analyst said was surprising but "no great shock."
Wynn's, the Fullerton-based maker of automotive parts and engine additives, said Wednesday that James Carroll has been named president and chief executive, replacing John F. Lillicrop.
Carroll formerly had been president and chief executive of a Wynn's subsidiary and joined forces with Security Pacific Corp.'s venture capital unit last fall in an unsuccessful takeover bid for the parent company.
Lillicrop, who had served as chief executive since 1984, also recently launched a bid for the company, seeking to acquire control through a leveraged buyout. Although that bid was never publicly announced, "Lillicrop has not made any secret that he was looking for financing of the company," said William D. Tichy, an analyst with Dean Witter Reynolds. "While this news comes as a surprise, it's no great shock given the inner turmoil of the company," he added.
Wesley E. Bellwood, Wynn's chairman, said Wednesday that Carroll will move to Fullerton from Lebanon, Tenn., where Precision Rubber is based. Carroll sold that operation to Wynn's International in 1985 for $31 million in cash and 70,000 shares of Wynn's stock. Carroll currently holds slightly less than 1% of Wynn's International stock.
Lillicrop, according to Bellwood, has stepped down to pursue personal interests, including running a ranch in Oregon and orchards in central California.
Despite rumors of philosophical differences between Lillicrop and Carroll, Bellwood said their approaches to management did not differ.
Both of their takeover attempts apparently fell prey to the Oct.19 stock market crash. When the Security Pacific-led takeover bid of $115 million, or $27.25 per share, was announced in September, Wynn's shares soared $9.50 on the New York Stock Exchange to a high of $28.875. But financing of the deal had not been completed by Black Monday, and the resulting collapse of the stock effectively killed the deal, said Tichy, the Dean Witter analyst.
Security Pacific pulled out of the deal at the end of October and Lillicrop then invited Carroll to become part of his own management-led buyout.
But Carroll declined and Lillicrop's buyout offer subsequently collapsed.
On Jan. 9, Wynn's announced that it was calling off all discussions of sale of the company.
At that time, Bellwood said too much time was being spent preparing financial information for prospective buyers and not enough was being spent running the company. "We can't allow this stuff to go on forever," he said.
In 1986, Wynn's International lost $10.5 million on sales of $306 million, the latest figures available.
Wynn's common stock closed Wednesday unchanged at $16.75 a share.