From Detroit Free Press
TROY, MI — Auto-parts supplierArvinMeritor Inc., which lost its bid to buy Dana Corp. last year, said Monday it is searching to replace chief executive Larry Yost, who plans to retire.
The Troy-based company offered few details about the search, but company spokeswoman Lin Cummins said Yost has wanted to retire for some time. Yost led the company through several transitions including the 2000 merger of Arvin Inc. and Meritor Automotive Inc. He had been CEO of Meritor before he became chairman and CEO of ArvinMeritor.
Yost had agreed last year to stay with ArvinMeritor for at least another year because it was trying to buy larger rival Dana. Yost had planned to see the company through the Toledo-based competitor’s acquisition and integration.
But when the deal fell through in November, ArvinMeritor’s board of directors decided to start looking for Yost’s successor.
“The board initiated a search to find a good candidate behind Larry,” Cummins said. “He had wanted to retire at 65.”
The board has hired international search firm Heidrick & Struggles to assist in its search. It’s unclear how long it will take or when Yost will step down, Cummins said.
It’s also uncertain whether the replacement would hold both chairman and CEO jobs.
The news comes two weeks after ArvinMeritor’s president and COO, Terry O’Rourke, unexpectedly resigned. Some industry analysts predicted O’Rourke would be in line to take Yost’s position after he retired.
Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa said the changes could be good for the company. “The appointment of an outsider, particularly one who might be open to divestitures rather than acquisitions for ArvinMeritor, might be a welcome development,” he said.
Last year ArvinMeritor offered $2.2 billion for Dana. Some analysts criticized the company for embarking on the deal because it would have meant a huge debt. The attempt cost ArvinMeritor $16 million in its fiscal first quarter. The company supplies axles, exhaust systems and other parts to the auto industry.
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