Turmoil at Starkey: President Jerry Ruzicka has been FIRED; Employee State of the Union CANCELED because of ongoing investigation. Additional firings in the Medical division… Details to follow on this page…
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Firings include Scott Nelson, Keith Guggenberger, Larry Miller, and Adam Miller & his mom.
Update 3 (2 October): According to the lawsuit filed on October 2nd, firings included executive assistants Julie Miller and Kim Mohlis; on September 13 Austin fired Jeff Longtain, the president of Starkey’s Oregon subsidiary Northland Hearing Centers. Two days later, he fired Susan Good, the senior director of Starkey Medical Partner Network.
Update 2: Our good friend Brian Taylor confirms this was a palace coup:
The true nature of the abrupt terminations are still unknown and according to statements by the company it is part of an “ongoing investigation”. However, two sources close to the company, and willing to speak off the record, cited a long-standing rivalry between Ruzicka and Brandon Sawalich, Sr. VP of Sales, Marketing & Customer Relations, who also happens to be Starkey founder Bill Austin’s stepson.
According to the sources, small cliques of executives who are loyal to each camp have formed around Ruzicka and Sawalich. They speculate that perhaps Sawalich may have forced Ruzicka (who has been rumored to retire within the year) and the three other executives from their positions with, presumably, the tacit approval of Mr. Austin.
Ironically, more than 20 years ago, it was rumored that Ruzicka assumed his position in the company in a similar manner when Mike Jones (who later ran Phonak US) and other top executives were abruptly ousted from their positions.
Nice work, Brian!
Update: Apparently Ruzicka was escorted out of the building by Police. According to Hearing Review:
Starkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has terminated the employment or accepted the resignations of at least four prominent senior executives, including President Jerry Ruzicka, Senior VP of Operations Keith Guggenberger, CFO Scott Nelson, and Senior VP of Human Resources Larry Miller.