ASHLAND, Ky.—-As Braidy Industries enters its final fundraising stage, the company announced last week that Chairman and CEO Craig Bouchard will step down from his current position.
The announcement, which came as a surprise to the tri-state area, sent residents in a frenzy wondering what would be the future of the mill that would bring hundreds of jobs to the region.
The release stated Bouchard would remain a member of Braidy Industries’ board of directors and President Tom Modrowski has been named interim CEO of Braidy Industries. Current board member Charles Price has been named Chairman of the Board of Braidy Industries.
While the announcement left many residents confused, Bouchard himself seemed to have been unaware of the change as well. After stepping off an international flight, Bouchard took to Facebook to release a statement on his personal Facebook page.
“I have just stepped off an international flight. I did not authorize the press release that was issued yesterday. I have not stepped down as the CEO of Braidy Industries, and I am the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Braidy Atlas.
After I complete my next flight, have a chance to kiss my wife and hug my kids, I will begin to prepare a longer statement for you and for the press. Maybe for Monday consumption.
My sole focus is rebuilding Ashland and NEK. I’m sorry for the stress that was created in Ashland yesterday. You don’t need that. Craig,” he posted
After Bouchard’s post to social media, Braidy Industries released its own statement on Facebook Friday, confirming the board’s decision it announced Thursday.
“The board of directors of Braidy Industries confirmed its action of Jan. 28, 2020, removing Craig Bouchard as CEO and Chairman. The Board and CEO Tom Modrowski are committed to the Ashland community and focused on building the Kentucky mill,” the company posted prompting Bouchard to post another statement on Facebook Saturday.
“I believe the sudden and unexplained action taken by the board of directors of Braidy Industries to attempt to remove me as CEO is without basis and, if allowed to stand, threatens significant damage to Braidy Industries, its stockholders and the Ashland community. I have certain contractual rights as a major stockholder of Braidy Industries, and I am evaluating my options in light of them.
The genesis of the disagreement is my pursuit of foreign strategic partners representing patient capital that will stay with us for generations. Some of the directors want a focus on finding American private equity investment. These PE investors desire a 200% return and a sale in 3-5 years. They don’t like greenfield projects and don’t particularly care about Appalachia.
Patient capital is what we need. I disagreed with the board. Please don’t let it stress you.
We don’t need more coal miner, AK Steel, or hospital layoffs in Ashland.
I won’t compromise.
The American private equity community should be ashamed of itself for not supporting ordinary people creating good businesses.
We can do fine without them,” Bouchard posted.
As a native of Kentucky and a successful entrepreneur, Price is well positioned to focus the company on the completion of the aluminum mill initiative in Ashland,” according to the release.
“The board is grateful to Craig for his vision, energy and dedication to the Kentucky operation,” said Charles Price, Chairman of the Board. “Tom and the board will continue to focus our efforts on completing fundraising and planning for construction of the Ashland mill.”
Modrowski has been with Braidy since its inception and has more than 30 years’ experience in the metals business, including senior leadership roles at various metal and metal processing businesses.
Site planning work and fundraising continues unabated for the first greenfield aluminum rolling mill in the U.S. in more than 37 years. The 1.5 million square foot complex will use state-of-the-art technology to serve the rapidly growing needs of the transportation industry.
Mr. Bouchard, age 66 and a resident of Naples, Florida, will continue his charitable work through the Braidy Hope Foundation established to support youth causes and combat opioid abuse in Ashland and Northeast Kentucky.
Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927
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