The company building a US$1.7-billion aluminium mill in Kentucky became embroiled in a leadership battle late last week, as the firm’s CEO went to social media to deny a company statement saying he stepped down.
Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard posted on social media on Friday that he did not authorize a press release issued the day before announcing his voluntary departure as CEO. The Thursday release indicated that Bouchard would vacate the post due to the project entering the final fundraising stage.
President Tom Modrowski is moving in to fill the vacated post, per the firm, while Charles Price would be named chairman of the board. Bouchard would not leave the company entirely, as he would stay on as a board member.
Charles Price, Chairman of the Board, thanked Bouchard for his contributions to the project so far.
“The board is grateful to Craig for his vision, energy and dedication to the Kentucky operation. Tom and the board will continue to focus our efforts on completing fundraising and planning for construction of the Ashland mill.”
However, Bouchard objected to the company press release on social media, and reiterated his position in the firm.
I have just stepped off an international flight. I did not authorize the press release that was issued yesterday. I have not stepped down as the CEO of Braidy Industries, and I am the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Braidy Atlas.
After I complete my next flight, have a chance to kiss my wife and hug my kids, I will begin to prepare a longer statement for you and for the press. Maybe for Monday consumption.
My sole focus is rebuilding Ashland and NEK. Im sorry for the stress that was created in Ashland yesterday. You don’t need that. Craig
The issue now in Braidy’s court, the firm responded to Bouchard in a statement released to local media.
“The Board of Directors of Braidy Industries confirmed its action of Jan. 28, 2020, removing Craig Bouchard as CEO and Chairman. The Board and CEO Tom Modrowski are committed to the Ashland community and focused on building the Kentucky mill.”
Late Friday, Bouchard returned the volley via social media, accusing the board of attempting to force him out due to their own narrow economic interests.
I believe the sudden and unexplained action taken by the Board of Directors of Braidy Industries to attempt to remove me as CEO is without basis and, if allowed to stand, threatens significant damage to Braidy Industries, its stockholders and the Ashland community. I have certain contractual rights as a major stockholder of Braidy Industries, and I am evaluating my options in light of them.
The genesis of the disagreement is my pursuit of foreign strategic partners representing patient capital that will stay with us for generations. Some of the directors want a focus on finding American private equity investment. These PE investors desire a 200% return and a sale in 3-5 years. They don’t like greenfield projects and don’t particularly care about Appalachia.
Patient capital is what we need. I disagreed with the board. Please don’t let it stress you.
We don’t need more coal miner, AK Steel or hospital layoffs in Ashland.
I won’t compromise.
The American private equity community should be ashamed of itself for not supporting ordinary people creating good businesses.
We can do fine without them.
According to Braidy’s bylaws, the board of directors may remove its CEO or chairman by a 70-percent vote, though Braidy’s board maintains Bouchard stepped down from the role of his own accord.