Simplex taps ADT vp for new chief

Seavers takes over fire service group during period of change
Sunday, February 1, 2004

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Officials at Tyco International have tapped an up and coming ADT vice president to serve as the new chief of SimplexGrinnell, Tyco’s integrated fire alarm and fire sprinkler business.

Dean Seavers, who most recently served as ADT’s vice president for the West Region, takes over the post of president from Michael Buchanan, who retired from the company in January, according to company officials.

Seavers, who was not available for an interview by press time, will be based here at the worldwide headquarters for Tyco Fire & Security and will be responsible for “defining the strategy, goals and objectives that will drive growth and profitability” at the company, Tyco officials said.

The new president takes the helm at a time of great uncertainty within the Tyco Fire & Security fold, following an announcement in November from officials at the parent company that the division stands to lose nearly 5,000 jobs and 184 facilities to divest the company of its non-core assets. While little of those changes were expected to have a major impact on Tyco’s major fire and security brands, those units also stand to see consolidation. In late January, about 75 positions were cut at the Tyco Safety Products manufacturing and research facility in Westminster, Mass., where SimplexGrinnell is based (see related story on page 20).

In addition to issues stemming from its parent company, SimplexGrinnell has problems of its own to combat. Since the merger of the two fire installation companies, the unit has experienced operational issues, likely stemming from the combination of many factors, according to fire industry analyst Lee DeVito.

“Once they combined the groups, with the Grinnell sprinkler group and the Simplex fire alarm group, they had fire and sprinkler, union and non-union together – people were all focusing on different things,” DeVito said.

Beginning his career with ADT as regional vice president of operations for Florida in 1999, Seavers was promoted to vice president for the Southeast region in 2001 and was instrumental in a process improvement program called Six Sigma, currently in place at Tyco.

Buchanan had served as president of SimplexGrinnell in January 2001 when Grinnell Fire Protection acquired Simplex Time Recorder. Beginning his career 36 years ago as a fire sprinkler designer at Grinnell, Buchanan held numerous other positions at the company, including branch manager, district manager and executive vice president before being named president of Grinnell in 1997, according to Chris Woodcock, director, marketing communications of SimplexGrinnell.