According to a story from CBS Marketwatch, Freedom Group CEO Robert Nardelli has stepped down after just two months in the job. He said according to his “statement Friday that ‘this is a great time’ to focus on his investment and consulting company, XLR-8 LLC.”
George Kollitides will take over as interim CEO.
George Kollitides, 42, a former managing director at Cerberus Capital Management and member of Freedom Group’s board, will act as interim CEO of the company.
Freedom Group said it expects to name a permanent successor for Nardelli soon.
Nardelli has also transitioned into a role as senior advisor to the CEO of Cerberus and the company’s affiliate Cerberus Operations and Advisory Co. LLC. Freedom Group’s chairman John Blyston will also transition to a role as senior advisor to Cerberus and its affiliates
Kollitides will replace Blystone as chairman of the board of Freedom Group.
Freedom Group is owned by Cerberus Capital Managment. It owns companies ranging from Remington and Bushmaster to Mountain Khakis and Advanced Armament (suppressors).
UPDATE: The full press release from Cerberus and the Freedom Group.
MADISON, N.C., March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Robert L. Nardelli and Freedom Group, Inc. (“FGI”), announced today that Nardelli has stepped down from his position as CEO of Freedom Group, effective immediately. George Kollitides, a member of FGI’s Board of Directors and formerly a Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. (“Cerberus”) Managing Director, has been named Chairman of the Board replacing current Chairman John Blystone, and will act as the interim CEO of FGI pending the completion of negotiations with a successor CEO expected to be named shortly.
Nardelli said, “I informed the Board of Directors of FGI that I would step down as CEO of FGI in order to devote attention to XLR-8 LLC, my investment and consulting company. This is a great time for me to focus on XLR-8 and leverage my 41 years in a variety of businesses and sectors and my recent private investing and advisory experience with Cerberus and its affiliates, to raise money to acquire underperforming companies, and to help them operate more profitably and improve their enterprise value. I have transitioned into a role as Senior Advisor to both Steve Feinberg, CEO of Cerberus, and its affiliate Cerberus Operations and Advisory Company, LLC (‘COAC’), and I will continue to work with them in that capacity.”
Nardelli continued, “Since joining the FGI board in September 2010, I have gained great respect for the dedicated and talented people of this iconic company. FGI has a proud past and a bright future in large part because of being guided by a very strong management team and board.”
“Over the past 17 months, Bob’s involvement with the business has enhanced FGI’s operational capabilities, strengthened the management team, and created a metrics-driven organization and ‘how-to’ culture,” said Steve Feinberg, Cerberus CEO. “We are grateful to him for his contributions. We are also pleased to add George’s talent, industry expertise and knowledge to our management team, which will also be supplemented in the near-term by a world-class business leader as the permanent CEO.”
Blystone will also transition to a role as Senior Advisor to Cerberus and its affiliates. Feinberg stated, “I am truly grateful for all of John’s strong work on FGI and I am looking forward to him taking another senior leadership role in one of our portfolio companies.”
Nardelli spent more than 30 years at General Electric Co. managing a wide range of businesses, including appliances, lighting, transportation and power systems. He also was CEO and chairman of The Home Depot and CEO and chairman of Chrysler LLC before becoming CEO of COAC in 2009.
Kollitides had been at Cerberus Capital Management since 2003, where he has served as a Managing Director, focusing on the defense, firearms and related industries. Kollitides was the principal architect of the investments in FGI for Cerberus. An avid outdoorsman, Kollitides is a long-time member of numerous hunting, shooting, Second Amendment and conservation organizations. He currently serves as a Trustee of the NRA Foundation and Director of the NRA’s Hunting and Wildlife Committee, Presidents Committee on Advancement and Nominating Committee. He is also a Director of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association.
About Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. Established in 1992, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., along with its affiliates, is one of the world’s leading private investment firms with over $20 billion under management. Through its team of investment and operations professionals, Cerberus specializes in providing both financial resources and operational expertise to help transform undervalued companies into industry leaders for long-term success and value creation. Cerberus holds controlling or significant minority interests in companies around the world. Cerberus is headquartered in New York City with affiliate and/or advisory offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
About Freedom Group, Inc. Freedom Group is the world’s leading innovator, designer, manufacturer, and marketer of firearms, ammunition, and related products for the hunting, shooting sports, law enforcement, and military markets. As one of the largest manufacturers in the world of firearms and ammunition, the company has some of the most globally recognized brands including Remington, Marlin, Harrington & Richardson, New England Firearms, L.C. Smith, Parker, Bushmaster, DPMS/Panther Arms, EOTAC, and INTC.