Breese leaves Maytag after Whirlpool integration

By James Wells

CHICAGO, USA: Craig Breese, the former International president of Maytag Corporation, has left the company after five years with the company.

In a statement, advising his departure, Breese thanked his retailers for supporting the American brand for the five years he ran the business.

The Australian market was the largest subsidiary within Breese’s International subsidiary.

“It was five short years ago that I joined the Maytag International organisation, but alas, today is my last day with what is now the Whirlpool Corporation.

“Before I left, however, I wanted to thank you for your support, your friendship and your encouragement of Maytag International, the brands and products and our people. Without this support we could not have tripled our sales at Maytag International these past five years and become the most profitable entity in the entire corporation.

“So I wish you the very best of success in the future and know that you will give your support to the new combined Whirlpool/Maytag group going forward,” Breese said.

The most recent remuneration data published by Forbes magazine shows Breese received a salary of $US420,528 with the company.

According to a report from Associated Press, Iowa government officials and union representatives are continuing to hold talks with executives from Whirlpool. Local politicians said they were not optimistic about the prospects of keeping the manufacturing jobs in Iowa by offering state incentives.

The combined company is currently evaluating all of its 26 manufacturing plants in North America.

Maytag has almost 5,000 workers in Iowa located at its corporate headquarters and washer and dryer factory in Newton, a refrigerator factory in Amana and a warehouse in North Liberty.

The Chicago Tribune has reported that about 65 workers at the laundry factory in Newton, Iowa were made redundant on Friday.

This round of lay-offs, follows a reduction of 50 workers in late February and leaves just 950 staff at the factory – the lowest in 60 years. The plant boasted a workforce of 2,600 in 2001.

According to documents filed by Whirlpool to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, savings from integrating Maytag are forecast to reach $400 million within the next three years. Efficiencies are expected to be obtained by combining the two brands’ manufacturing, marketing, product research and development.

Last week Whirlpool reported a 37 per cent increase in first quarter earnings. Sales rose 10 per cent to $US3.5 billion.

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