LUMBERYARDS

USG board elects new chairman

BY HBSDEALER Staff

USG Corp. has announced that chairman William Foote will retire from the company and its board of directors, effective Dec. 1, 2011. The board has elected James Metcalf, USG’s president and CEO, to the post of chairman of the board, effective upon Foote’s retirement.

Foote, who joined USG in 1984, served as USG’s chairman since 1996, after having been elected CEO in 1995 and president in 1994.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to lead this great company for the last 15 years," Foote said. "I have great confidence in the company’s leadership team and its future. I will sincerely miss the many friendships I have developed throughout the company and the industry over the years. I will always be grateful to our board of directors for their steadfast support and wise counsel." 

Under Foote’s leadership, he resolved the company’s legacy asbestos liabilities and led USG through a Chapter 11 restructuring to protect shareholders from lawsuits. During his tenure, the company also launched a large-scale modernization of its manufacturing operations in the late 1990s that added more than five billion sq. ft. of low-cost wallboard manufacturing capacity. Foote also directed the expansion of USG’s specialty distribution business, L&W Supply Corp.

Metcalf, who joined the company in 1980, was elected to the USG board in 2008 and became CEO January 2011.

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Universal appoints new general counsel

BY HBSDealer Staff

Universal Forest Products has named David Tutas as general counsel of the corporation. He succeeds Matthew Missad, who was appointed CEO earlier this year.

Tutas joined Universal as an attorney in 2003. In 2007, he was named director of the legal department at Universal. Before he joined the company, Tutas was an attorney with the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm of Nantz, Litowich, Smith & Girard.

"Dave Tutas’ legal expertise, his knowledge of our company and business, his work ethic and unquestionable character and integrity make him the perfect person for this important position," Missad said. "He will provide sound legal counsel to our company and board as we grow and develop in the coming years, and in many markets and industries."

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California homeowners win a round against big builders

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A group of 19 California homeowners who bought their homes between 2004 and 2006 — each with a 20% or more down payment — won the right to sue D.R. Horton, Richmond American, Shea Homes, Lennar Homes and other production home builders for devaluing their properties with risky lending practices. 

According to an article in Courthouse News Service, a federal appeals court in San Francisco overturned a lower court’s decision, paving the way for a class action lawsuit over whether developers of new home communities marketed homes to high-risk buyers and then sold houses to unqualified individuals and investors prone to foreclosure.

The end result, according to the plaintiffs, are neighborhoods blighted by foreclosures, empty houses and increased crime. Home values have also plummeted. 

The three-judge appellate panel unanimously agreed that the plaintiffs would likely not have purchased their homes had they known the developers’ lending practices. Although they found no causal link between the defendants’ actions and the decreased value of the homes, the ruling allowed the plaintiffs to amend their claims to provide more evidence of a connection between the two events. 

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