Nortek CEO Bready retiring, Smith to lead

RICHARD L. BREADY retires after 36 years at Nortek.
Posted 6/30/11

PROVIDENCE – Nortek Inc. announced Thursday the retirement of Richard L. Bready, longtime chairman, president and CEO, and the appointment of J. David Smith as interim CEO, effective Friday.

Bready retires after 36 years at Nortek, a leading global manufacturer of residential and commercial ventilation and technology products. Under his leadership, the company said, Nortek grew into a diversified manufacturer of building products in four areas: residential ventilation, technology, residential air conditioning and heating, and commercial air conditioning and heating.

“With the 2009 restructuring, the successful acquisitions of Ergotron and TV One, as well as the recent refinancing of the company’s balance sheet behind us, Nortek is now solidly positioned for the future,” Bready said in a prepared statement. “Therefore, I felt we had reached a point where I could confidently step back.”

Bready said the company will be “excellent hands” with Smith, “who offered his wealth of knowledge as well as his sound judgment and guidance during his tenure on the board of directors. I have complete confidence in his ability to lead Nortek and work with the management team in this transitional time in order to continue to drive outstanding performance for the company.”

Jeffrey Bloomberg, lead director of Nortek, said the entire organization “extends its sincerest gratitude to [Bready] for his innumerable contributions to the growth of the company. Everyone wishes him great happiness in his retirement.”

Prior to assuming the interim CEO title, Smith served for approximately two years as an outside director on Nortek’s board, as well as on its compensation committee. He has more than 36 years of experience in the building products industry, including 12 years as chairman, president and CEO of Euramax International Inc., a producer of aluminum, steel, vinyl, copper and fiberglass products for manufacturers, distributors, contractors and home centers worldwide.

“Nortek will continue to operate on a business-as-usual basis relaying upon the leadership of our business segment senior management,” Smith said. “We remain focused on delivering high-quality, attractively-designed products to our customers as well as fulfilling our commitment to our employees.”

The company’s board of directors also announced it is retaining an executive search firm to identify and secure a permanent replacement.

In May, citing continued weakness in the residential- and commercial-building sectors of the economy, Nortek Inc. reported a first-quarter net loss of $21.1 million, compared with a loss of $13.4 million a year earlier, despite a 13.4 percent increase in revenue to $488.6 million. On a per diluted share basis, the quarterly loss amounted to $1.40 per share.

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