Brink's CEO steps down after 14 years

Friday, February 1, 2002

IRVING, Texas-After nearly 14 years as leader of one of the country's most successful security companies, Peter Michel has stepped down from his post as chief executive officer of Brink's Home Security, a company he led nearly from its inception and turned into a major profit center for its shareholders.

Michel had already turned over the reins of president nine months ago in March to Bob Allen, the company's chief operating officer. Allen then officially became president, a planned transition that began more than two years ago when Michel hired him as part of the company's tight-knit management team to which Michel gives a bulk of the credit for the company's continued success.
"I've been here for almost 14 years and have led the company through lots of changes, lots of successes," Michel said. "I've put in place a strong management teamand am confident they will do a great job, so what I'm going to do is devote my energy to looking for a new thing to do."
Part of the planned transition, Allen said, was also the elimination of the company's CEO position, a move to make Brink's Home Security management equivalent in structure to that of other Pittston Company subsidiaries, which are led by a president and report to Pittston Company Chief Executive Officer Michael Dan. Michel is now acting as a consultant to the company, a position that could last indefinitely, Michel said.
Michel came on board less than a year before the then-fledgling company experienced its first profitable year in 1988, five years after its inception in 1983. A few years later, the company was funding its own growth, he said. Revenues today reach nearly $260 million; the company's year-end recurring monthly revenue now stands at $230 million, Michel said. Under Michel's tenure, the company, now with 2,300 employees, grew from 60,000 accounts to now over 700,000 in 100 markets across the country.
"Michel was rather unique in the industry in the sense that he built a formidable alarm company without going the acquisition route," said Jack Mallon, an industry analyst and publisher of Mallon's Security Investing. "His growth was organic, national, and he had a marketing plan which he implemented through the country and built Brinks into (one of the) largest alarm companies in the country."
Because growth at Brinks was so internalized, Mallon said, Michel was able to show consistently strong operational profits, with no interest payments or amortization charges stemming from acquisition-related debt. And despite its size - Brinks Home Security division is about one quarter of the size of Brink's Inc., Pittston's armored car division - the operations generated comparable earnings than its larger security counterpart, Mallon said.
The company's sustained successes have come through, among other things, a series of three complete hardware upgrades and software overhauls that kept the company"driving new technology", Michel said. The consolidation in the industry over the past decade, the biggest shift he's seen, has also made the company more focused on consistency and quality, helping it remain competitive, he said.
"Our relative position compared to ADT, our relative share of market has decreasedand we've seen many companies fail," Michel said. "Part of the consolidation was a result of failed strategies where people don't understand that this was a long term relationship business and tried to make money quickly, which doesn't seem to work."
With a different hand on the helm, Allen said that there will be no change in direction at the company.
"Obviously we're going to miss him, but there's no sea change going on here," he said. "It's a steady course, we're doing the right things now and we'll continue to do the right things."