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Morrison Knudsen Picks Ex-Chrysler Exec for Top Job

April 03, 1995|From Times Wire Services

BOISE, Ida. — Morrison Knudsen Corp. Sunday named as its new chairman former Chrysler Corp. Vice Chairman Robert S. Miller, a financial turnaround expert the company hopes will negotiate loans it needs to avoid insolvency.

Miller replaces William Agee, who was ousted from the troubled construction and engineering company in February after forecasting record losses for the fourth quarter and year. Boise-based Morrison Knudsen will run out of money this month if it doesn't receive up to $125 million in new loans from its banks.

The 54-year-old Miller is credited with being the chief financial architect of Chrysler's turnaround in the mid-1980s. He joined the auto maker in 1979 and served as its chief financial officer from 1981 to 1990, and vice chairman from 1990 to 1992.

Miller vowed to lead Morrison Knudsen out of its period of uncertainty and financial turmoil. "I am looking forward to helping the company past its current financial difficulties," Miller said in a statement.

Agee's departure heralded a period of management upheaval and the announcement of serious financial setbacks for Morrison Knudsen. It estimates losses for the latest year could be as much as $310 million.

Miller, who served as a key negotiator of financial restructuring during the Chrysler turnaround, also oversaw Chrysler Financial Corp., Chrysler International Operations and Chrysler Technologies. From 1981 to 1990 he served as Chrysler's chief financial officer. More recently, Miller was a partner in the investment banking firm of James D. Wolfensohn Inc. Miller is no stranger to controversy. His departure from Chrysler reportedly came after a clash with Iacocca in 1991 over a memo Miller sent to the board of directors criticizing Iacocca's failure to establish a firm succession plan.

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