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Rival Suitor Replaces Wynn's President

January 21, 1988|ERIC SCHINE | Times Staff Writer

The president of Wynn's International, frustrated in his recent attempt to acquire the company, has been replaced by a rival suitor in a move one industry analyst said was surprising but "no great shock."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."

In an interview Wednesday, Wesley E. Bellwood, Wynn's chairman, said Carroll will soon move to Fullerton from Lebanon, Tenn., where the Wynn's Precision Rubber subsidiary is based.

Carroll sold that operation to Wynn's in 1985 for $31 million in cash and 70,000 shares of Wynn's stock. Carroll holds slightly less than 1% of Wynn's stock.

Lillicrop, according to Bellwood, has stepped down to pursue personal interests, including running a ranch in Oregon and various orchards in Central California.

Despite rumors of philosophical differences between Lillicrop and Carroll, Bellwood said there were no particular management differences between the two.

Both 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 the then-historic 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.

Wynn's common stock closed Wednesday unchanged at $16.75 a share.

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