ABC loses its CEO, yet again

Sunday, August 1, 2004

LEWISVILLE, Texas - Once again American Building Control is left without a leader at the helm, after Danny Mills, the com-pany’s chief executive officer and president for the past eight months, announced his resignation in early July.

Though Mills’ resignation may appear sudden, the announcement should come as little surprise. Hints of what was to come came at American Building Control’s annual shareholder meeting June 21, when Mills was not re-elected to the company’s board of directors, despite board members recommending his election.

Instead, James Powers, chairman of RF Logics and former chairman of InfoGraphics, was elected. Re-elected board members included Lance Borvansky, Carlo Loi and John Macaulay.

Mills said after the sale of non-core assets to Mace Security (see related story below) the company no longer required his services to move forward.

“We executed on the first phase of the strategy and the clean-up,” said Mills, who hopes to remain in the security industry.

Under his tenure, the company, once known as Ultrak, announced plans to consolidate offices and sell non-core businesses, such as Securityand-More and its industrial service business, IVS. Instead the company would focus on its access control business MDI and ABM Data Systems, an alarm management software firm.

In June the company found a buyer for IVS and SecurityandMore when Mace Security stepped up to the plate to buy the two divisions. (See related story.)

Earlier this year Mills said the goal was to bring the company to a cash flow even level by the end of third quarter. For years the company has struggled financially and with its focus. Most recently overhead costs and paying severance to former employees and chief executive officers appeared to be taking their toll on the business.

Perhaps one of the most controversial figures at the company was George Broady, the former chief executive officer who left in 2002. In 2000 he initiated a hostile takeover of Detection Systems board of directors to force the company to consider a sale. At that time Ultrak owned a 21 percent interest in the competing security product manufacturer.

It is unclear how much severance Broady has received over the years. But according to a 10-K filing with the Securities Exchange Commission in December of 2003, the company paid $512,000 to Broady as part of an acceleration of his final 18 months of a three-year severance package. Broady was to continue to receive bi-weekly payments through the end of June of 2004.

Mills is just one of several chief executive officers American Building Control has employed within the past few years. Bryan Tate served as head of the company from February 2003 until November of 2003. Niklaus Zenger took on the chief executive officer in April 2002, replacing Broady who served in that role since March 1991.

Macaulay, vice chairman of American Building Control’s board of directors, declined to comment on Mills’ resignation beyond a company issued press release. As of press time, the company was considering its options for replacing Mills.