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1995 FIN – Barnes Group’s Martin Breaks a Barrier

June 27
00:00 2010

April 17, 1995 FIN – Former Air Force reconnaissance pilot Theodore E. Martin is the first black CEO of a large Connecticut-based company, according to the Associated Press.

Martin was elected president of Barnes Group by the board of directors at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, April 5, 1995, in Hartford, Connecticut.

Martin succeeds A. Stanton Wells on July 1. Wells turns 65 next January, the company mandatory retirement age for executive officers.

Martin, 55, is only the third chief executive outside the Barnes family to lead the company in its 138-year history.
“I hope to become, in the history of this company, the right person at the right time,” Martin told the AP.

Speculation that Martin could become president began after directors dismissed the first non-family CEO, William Fenoglio, after just 32 months at the helm in December 1993. Company operating profits had plummeted to an 11-year low and Barnes dropped out of the list of the country’s 500 largest industrial firms.
Wells was considered a temporary replacement because of his age.

Barnes Group reported profits of $20.3 million on sales of $569.2 million in 1994.

Chairman Wallace Barnes was considered a contender for the president’s job, according to the Hartford (Conn.) Courant. He is the corporation’s largest single stockholder and has been senior vice president for administration.

Members of the Barnes family own 31% of the stock, and employees own 18%.

The Associated Press reported Martin has a “reputation for being a driven, no-nonsense manager” who was credited with turning around the largest of the Barnes divisions, Associated Spring.
The division, which manufactures springs for durable-goods manufacturers, had its operating income rise from $15.2 million in 1991 to $41.7 million in 1994.

Martin joined Barnes in October 1990 and became Associated Spring president in 1992 and executive vice president/operations for all three divisions in December 1993.

John Saunders III, Connecticut’s acting commissioner of labor, told the Associated Press that he does not know of any other black chief executives of publicly traded companies in Connecticut.
“The air at the top is still very white – old and white,” economist Ronald Van Winkle told the Associated Press. “Power and wealth are very difficult things to wrestle away.”
Joseph Ercolano, vice president of Southwest Area Commerce & Industry Association, said the scarcity of black CEOs “certainly speaks to a lot of issues. One is the track record of corporations in promoting qualified minorities. It speaks to the whole issue of diversity.”

Before joining Barnes, Martin held senior positions at Herman Miller Inc., a Michigan-based office furniture manufacturer, and the former Bendix Corp. ©1995/2010 Fastener Industry News

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