Dutton to leave RONA
Robert Dutton, the president and CEO of RONA, is stepping down after 20 years at the helm of Canada’s largest home improvement retail operation. No reason was given for Dutton’s departure.
Dutton spent 35 years working for the Boucherville, Quebec-based organization, which oversees a network of more than 800 corporate, franchise and affiliate retail stores of various sizes and formats under several banners, as well as a network of 14 hardware and construction materials distribution outlets. Under his leadership, RONA expanded from a regional player with sales of C$450 million to a national corporation with more than C$4.8 billion in annual revenues.
Dutton opposed a $1.85 acquisition offer from U.S. retailer Lowe’s this summer, saying that RONA had a better strategic plan for its company. Lowe’s withdrew its unsolicited bid in September.
Earlier this week, RONA turned in disappointing third-quarter earnings of $5.1 million, down from $47.8 million in the same quarter last year. Consolidated revenues for the third quarter were fairly steady at $1.34 billion, down $10.6 million or less than 1% from the third quarter of 2011.
Dominique Boies, executive VP and chief financial officer, was appointed as acting CEO until a replacement can be found, according to the announcement. The RONA board of directors has hired Korn/Ferry International to find a successor to Dutton.
HD worker accused of Black Friday bomb plot
A Home Depot employee was taken into custody on Nov. 8 after federal prosecutors accused him of threatening to detonate pipe bombs in three different stores unless Home Depot paid him $2 million.
The alleged extortion plot, outlined in a federal district court in Central Islip and reported by the New York Times, took place over several weeks and involved two ransom letters and anonymous phone calls to Home Depot representatives. Daniel Patrick Sheehan, a 50-year-old worker at the Deer Park, N.Y., store, said he would “shut down all [Long Island] stores on Black Friday” by detonating homemade bombs packed with roofing nails at three unidentified Home Depot stores.
The F.B.I. said that Sheehan had some degree of expertise in bomb-making. On Oct. 15, the suspect planted a shrapnel-packed explosive device in the lighting aisle of Home Depot’s Huntington, N.Y., store, authorities said, in order to prove the seriousness of his intent. Management evacuated the store, and no one was hurt.
Prosecutors claim that Sheehan, who was traced through a prepaid cell phone, demanded a $2 million payment to call off the Black Friday bombing. He was denied bail at the Nov. 8 hearing and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years if convicted.
Home Depot released the following statement when contacted by HCN:
“We are truly grateful for the outstanding efforts and rapid response of local and federal law enforcement to ensure the safety of our customers and our associates. We thank our associates for the way they have maintained their focus on serving our customers through this period. We apologize to customers for this inconvenience, and want both associates and customers to know that their safety is our first priority.
“We understand from authorities that the individual arrested is reported to be an associate, but as a general policy we do not comment on individual personnel matters, and because this remains a matter of an active criminal investigation, we will not comment further at this time.”