Invacare shuffles new cards in seasoned deck

Sunday, October 31, 2004

ELYRIA, Ohio - As Invacare marches toward its goal of generating $2 billion in sales annually by 2006, the company has reorganized its top-tier management and infused the ranks with new blood.

At a press conference recently, Invacare introduced Matt Mullarkey, a West Point graduate and former manager at the Michelin Tire Group, who will head up the company’s HME division in the United States. This newly segregated division of the company was formed in late spring of this year and represents 69% of Invacare’s annual revenues.

By next year, Invacare expects the combined revenues of its other geographic segments, including Euope and Australia, and its independent operating divisions, such as Motion Concepts and Kuschall, will exceed the revenues of its HME division in the U.S.

Mullarkey’s appointment frees the company’s six senior executives from day-to-day operations of the U.S. HME division to manage these various entities. That doesn’t mean customers will notice any difference, said Lou Slangen, formerly the company’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, now the senior vice president of worldwide market development.

“We want to keep that customer contact and the entrepreneurial spirit, but at the same time, we have to make sure the other parts of the businesses are being run right,” said Slangen. “You can’t run a $2 billion company like you run a $100 million company.”

Invacare’s former general manager of its Canadian operations, Brian Ellacott, steps in as Slangen’s replacement in the U.S. division. Ellacott will report to Mullarkey.

“With this transition, we continue to have a mix of stability and new blood,” said Slangen. “Mal’s (Mixon) got 25 years; I have 17. Gerry (Blouch) has 15 or 16. J.B. Richey has got 20. But then in the HME division, Matt has a year and a half and John Ledek has two years. It’s very important that we don’t end up running the company when we’re seventy years old.”