FORT SMITH, Ark.-Treadco Inc. has undergone an internal shakeup, with three top officers, including President and COO J.J. Seiter, abruptly resigning Oct. 20 to take newly created positions as directors of dealer development for Treadco's principal retreading supplier, Bandag Inc. The defection of Mr. Seiter and of Vice President of Sales Ronald W. Hawks and Vice President for Quality Control Ronald W. Toothaker could be considered pouring salt on the wounds, as Treadco's relationship with Bandag has soured in recent months.
On Oct. 25 Treadco appointed John R. Meyers president and CEO and promoted its vice president of administration, Daniel Evans, to executive vice president and COO. Mr. Meyers was vice president-treas-urer of Arkansas Best Corp., a major stockholder and former parent company of Treadco. Robert Young III, formerly CEO, will remain Treadco's chairman.
Bandag, as the nation's largest retreading supplier, and Treadco, the largest independent truck tire retreader, have been engaged in a battle of wills, with Bandag announcing in August it would not renew franchise contracts for eight Treadco retreading plants next year, which Treadco viewed as spite for its new mold-cure retreading venture with Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.
In response, Treadco, Bandag's largest franchisee with 26 plants, signed the second largest retreading supplier, Oliver Rubber Co., to supply the eight disenfranchised plants and any other plants that may come under the Bandag contract ax.
But now Treadco's president, Mr. Seiter, has joined the Bandag camp, accepting the newly created post of corporate director of dealer development. Mssrs. Hawks and Toothaker will serve as Bandag's associ-ate corporate directors of dealer development.
A Bandag spokesman said the three men will be collecting information and concerns from the company's franchisees for corporate headquarters as part of the firm's shift from ``an internally product-driven company to one that's customer focused.''
Mr. Seiter declined to comment on the reasons for his departure, and Messrs. Hawks and Toothaker could not be reached for comment.
``No one knows more about dealer issues and concerns than these three men,'' said Bandag CEO and President Martin Carver. ``With more than 60 years of combined experience, they bring a wealth of insight and first-hand knowledge to help Bandag develop the programs that will enable Bandag dealers to continue leading the industry into the next century.''
Trading in Treadco stock on the NASDAQ market was suspended following the Friday announcement, but in apparent response, the price fell 1 1/8 on Monday, Oct. 23, to close at a 52-week low of $9 per share.
Many in the retreading industry were surprised by the departures, which has generated much speculation. The three exiting Treadco officers ``were the whole nucleus of the company. It will have a big effect on Treadco,'' said Marvin Bozarth, executive director of the American Retreaders Association.
Treadco President J.J. Seiter, above, quit to join Bandag.