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At Scotts: Hagedorn stays, Baker leaves

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Scotts Miracle-Gro chairman and CEO Jim Hagedorn will not retire as CEO this year. “The success we’ve seen over the past two years has been exciting, but it really just reinforces how much more opportunity remains for our company and the lawn and garden category,” Hagedorn said. “While I thought I wanted to step aside after I turned 55, I’ve decided I want to stay engaged in the business and, with the approval of our board of directors, intend to do so.”

Additionally, Barry Sanders has been named president of the company, effective immediately. He replaces Mark Baker, who was hired two years ago as president and chief operating officer. Baker is no longer with the company.

Sanders joined Scotts Miracle-Gro in 2001, overseeing the implementation of a new enterprise resource planning system as well as the consolidation of the North American Consumer business. He later led the sales force in the United States and was then promoted to lead the company’s Global Supply Chain. In 2008, Sanders was selected to lead the U.S. Consumer business and, earlier this year, was named executive VP of the entire Global Consumer segment.

Hagedorn praised Baker’s contributions during his seven-year tenure on the board. “He leaves us on good terms, and I want to thank him for all he has done,” Hagedorn said.

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Lowe’s raises offer to drywall victims

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s has substantially raised its offer to customers who claim they bought defective drywall at its stores in Georgia after coming under criticism for its previous offer, according to a report by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Pro Publica.

In Lowe’s latest offer, filed on Oct. 28, affected homeowners are now eligible for up to $100,000 in cash, instead of gifts cards in the amounts of $50, $250 or $2,000, with a maximum payout of $4,500 in combined cash and gift cards. The previous settlement had been offered as part of a class action lawsuit that is being negotiated in a Georgia state court.

The earlier settlement set aside $6.5 million for victims and $2.1 million for the attorneys who negotiated the agreement. This resulted in an outcry from public interest attorneys and consumer advocates, who also criticized the payout as being too low. The cost of removing and replacing tainted drywall and corroded electrical wiring can cost $100,000, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The newly amended settlement was negotiated by a separate team of attorneys on behalf of a Florida corrections officer. Lowe’s has set aside an additional $2.25 million for the homeowners in this case. The original attorneys will still get $2.1 million in fees. The new attorneys will receive a separate fee based on how many $100,000 claims Lowe’s eventually pays.

The North Carolina retailer has stated that it does not believe the drywall it sold was defective because Lowe’s vendors assured the company that they never sold it any Chinese drywall. Lowe’s entered into the original agreement “as part of our commitment to serving our customers,” according to a company statement.

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Sentence for former Depot buyer

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A former Home Depot product category merchant was sentenced to more than two years in prison for participating in what has been described as a $1.5 million fraud scheme in the retailer’s flooring department.

According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Ronald Douglass Matheny II, 43, of Chattanooga, Tenn., was sentenced to two years and three months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and additional charges.

The trials of those involved in the kickback scheme that occurred from 2002 to 2007 have been slowly working their way through the court system.

In April, two of the three figures involved were sentenced. James Robinson, a former divisional merchandise manager for hard flooring at Home Depot received a sentence of 63 months in prison. Ronald Johnston, the company’s global product merchant for rugs, was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Both men were also ordered to pay $1.8 million.

In June, former buyer Anthony Tesvich was sentenced to six and a half years.

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