Boyd Group founder handing over the reins
Business partner takes control as CEO
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/01/2010 (4830 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ONE year after a devastating accident that left Terry Smith hospitalized for almost six months, the founder and CEO of the Boyd Group Income Fund is stepping down to become executive chairman of the collision repair company.
Brock Bulbuck, Smith’s longtime business partner and second in command at the Winnipeg company, takes over as CEO.
The general expectation is that the transition will be seamless and if the stock market response on Thursday is any indication, that will be the case. Boyd units closed up 19 cents to $5.79 on light trading.
Bulbuck effectively took over the senior executive role last Jan. 24 when Smith was seriously injured in a snowmobiling accident.
The 57-year-old, who started the company in 1990 and went public on the Winnipeg Stock Exchange in 1997, broke his right femur in the accident and severely stretched his neck, which caused his carotid artery to bleed.
After surgery to repair his severely broken leg, a major clot in the artery released to his brain and Smith suffered a severe stroke, leaving him paralyzed on his left side.
“Doctors did not hold out much hope that I would ever be out of a wheelchair,” he said.
But Smith was determined that he was going to walk out of the hospital when he was released, and that’s what he did in June.
“It was with a walker at that time, but I am walking without an aid now,” said Smith, whose voice betrays the effects of the serious injury.
And even though he still has partial paralysis of his left hand and arm and he admits his health is only 35-to-40 per cent recovered, Smith is working about 40 hours per week, “about half the time I am used to working.”
Irrespective of his slightly laboured speech, Smith is clearly fully cognizant of his good fortune to be able to pass the leadership of the company to Bulbuck.
“He is a man of the highest integrity and the smartest man I have ever met,” Smith said of Bulbuck, 49.
Bulbuck, the former president and chief operating officer, has been with the company for 16 years.
“There was a constant level of communication between Terry and I for many years,” Bulbuck said. “And we have an unbelievable management team who all shared the load after Terry’s accident.”
The company produced record-breaking numbers through the first three quarters of 2009 with Bulbuck at the helm, which would seem to indicate the company is in capable hands.
Greg Klassen, an investment adviser at Wellington West Capital, has followed and supported Boyd for many years.
“The depth of the management at the company is much greater than Terry,” Klassen said. “The company is carrying on nicely and effectively the leadership transition has already occurred.”
Klassen said he is most impressed with Bulbuck’s enthusiasm in taking over the marketing role.
“Terry was the consummate salesmen and Brock has pleasantly surprised me in the work he is doing with the investment community,” he said.
After taking a major writedown in 2006 and suspending distributions for about a year, the company has paid down most of its debt.
Even with a continuing poor economy in the U.S., sales are up almost 12 per cent so far this year and the company is acquiring and opening new stores at the rate of eight to 10 per year.
Boyd operates locations in the four western Canadian provinces under the trade name Boyd Autobody & Glass, as well as in seven U.S. states under the trade name Gerber Collision & Glass.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.