Martin S. Ackerman, who led the reorganization of Standard Brands Paint Co. and became its chief executive only six weeks ago, has died, the Torrance-based company said Tuesday.
Fletcher Byrom, a director, was named interim chairman until a permanent successor is appointed. The company did not disclose the reasons for Ackerman's death, but a company official said he died Monday in New York following complications from intestinal surgery.
Ackerman's leadership and vision was seen as a central part of the restructuring of the 108-store paint retailer, which emerged from Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection on June 14, after suffering from a heavy debt load and the Southland's economic recession.
The 61-year-old Ackerman--who was named chairman, chief executive and president on that date--lived in New York and left most of the company's day-to-day operations to other executives.
Some of Ackerman's goals for the company included new products and advertising concepts and plans to sell its manufactured paint to customers outside of its retail stores, said Dan Yukelson, vice president for finance and chief financial officer for the company, which reported $227 million in revenues for 1992.
"We're all very shocked, and it (Ackerman's death) came as a surprise to us," Yukelson said. "We're still working very hard to keep those (plans) on track."
The company will meet Friday with its two major institutional investors, the Fidelity Capital & Income mutual fund and Kodak Retirement Income Plan Trust, to pick a permanent successor, Yukelson said.
Ackerman, an attorney who has been involved with several other corporate workouts over the past 30 years, was also on the board of Dallas-based Zale Corp., which just emerged from bankruptcy protection on Friday. Ackerman is survived by his wife, Diane, and four children.
In Tuesday's New York Stock Exchange trading, Standard Brands stock fell 37.5 cents to $3.25 per share.