By David Barkholz, Automotive News
Detroit, Michigan-Frank Macher is on the verge of resigning as chief executive officer of Collins & Aikman Corp., said sources close to the bankrupt interiors supplier, on 15 Jan 2007.
He is expected to resign once details of his departure are settled, the sources said.
Macher, a 30-year Ford Motor Co. veteran, took the helm of Collins & Aikman in July 2005, two months after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection without cash or a plan to operate. He kept parts shipping as Collins & Aikman's automotive customers infused nearly $200 million in loans and price increases to prop it up.
Macher's role, though, has diminished in recent weeks after management and creditors decided last quarter to sell the company in pieces rather than bring it out of Chapter 11 as a stand-alone company. Detroit 3 customers also made massive production cuts in the fourth quarter.
In his last public appearance, Macher said in October that suppliers should have a "bill of rights" with their automaker customers. He said automakers should not pay less than cost for parts and said they should be penalised when they exaggerate anticipated production volumes.
Macher also got into a high-profile spat with customer Ford Motor Co. when Collins & Aikman briefly interrupted parts shipments for one shift to Ford's Fusion sedan plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.
Collins & Aikman spokesman David Youngman said Macher has not resigned. Youngman declined further comment. Macher was traveling today and could not be reached for comment.
Collins & Aikman is one of North America's largest interiors suppliers and has parts on most vehicles made in North America.
The investment-banking company Lazard Ltd. is handling the sale of Collins & Aikman's major assets. Those include its soft-trim business, which Cerberus Capital Management LP has pledged to buy. It also includes Collins & Aikman's Hermosillo interiors plant. That plant supplies about $300 million in complete interiors to the Fusion platform, which is also used for the Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ.
Before joining Collins & Aikman, Macher helped shepherd Federal-Mogul Corp. in bankruptcy. Macher also worked at Ford for 30 years before retiring in 1996. His last job at Ford: running the auto parts operations that were spun off to create Visteon in 2000. In 2005, Macher nearly returned to Ford to run former Visteon plants taken back by Ford as part of a bailout of the supplier.
Executive vice president Susan Armstrong left Collins & Aikman just before Christmas, Youngman confirmed. She joined the company about the time that Macher came aboard, he said.
Collins & Aikman, of Southfield, Mich., ranks No. 54 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $2.80 billion in 2005.
PIC: Collins & Aikman automotive products range from flooring to instrument panels, as seen in the Cadillac DeVille."