A member of a prominent Richmond family will remain at the helm of a local manufacturing company he has led off and on for nearly two decades.
Tredegar Corp. on Wednesday announced a more permanent tenure for John Gottwald as its president and chief executive officer – a role he had been serving on an interim basis since June and previously served in for 17 years, most recently from 2006 to 2010.
Gottwald took on the interim position June 26, following the abrupt departure of two top executives – previous CEO Nancy Taylor and CFO Kevin O’Leary.
Their departures came after a move in 2013 by Gottwald and his older brother, board chairman Bill Gottwald, to publicly state their desire to see the company pursue “strategic alternatives,” a term typically interpreted as referring to a potential sale or spin-off.
Bill Gottwald took over the Tredegar chairmanship in June, in a change of power that puts the family squarely in control of the company. The two brothers and their father, Floyd Gottwald Jr., are Tredegar’s largest shareholders, together owning nearly a quarter of the company’s outstanding common stock.
In the same release announcing Gottwald’s election Wednesday, the company also announced the retirement of Mary Jane Hellyar, who has served as president of Tredegar Film Products since 2012.
Hellyar will retire effective Nov. 13. The release said film products unit leaders will now report directly to John Gottwald.
The release quoted John Gottwald as saying: “I want to thank Mary Jane for her important contributions to the Films organization. She has been very flexible and gracious in setting her retirement date to help us with transitional issues.”
A Tredegar spokeswoman said Gottwald would not comment on Wednesday’s announcements.
In Wednesday’s release, Bill Gottwald said leaders of the company approached his brother about serving as CEO through the next 18 to 24 months. A previous release had said John Gottwald would serve as CEO on an interim basis until the board “completes a search for a new leader.”
Bill Gottwald said in the release that the leaders’ overtures to his brother had the support of the board.
Based in Chesterfield County, Tredegar manufactures plastic films used in consumer products such as diapers and food packaging, as well as aluminum materials used in construction, automotive and other industries.
The company’s sales last year totaled $951.8 million. Net income totaled $36.8 million. It has 2,700 employees at facilities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
The Gottwalds are ranked by Forbes as the 90th richest family in America, with a net worth of $3.1 billion. The magazine puts the number of family members at seven.
As interim CEO, John Gottwald was receiving an annual base salary of $396,000, prorated for the 2015 fiscal year. Wednesday’s release did not indicate whether that amount would change with the permanent appointment.
As part of her separation agreement, former CEO Taylor received a lump sum cash payment of nearly $1.9 million, representing two times her annual base salary, as well as a bonus and unused vacation days. O’Leary, the former CFO, received a lump sum cash payment of more than $685,000. O’Leary has since been replaced by D. Andrew Edwards.