Update Feb. 9, 2:40 pm
According to a Feb. 8 report from The Milwaukee Business Journal, former Briggs & Stratton CEO Joe Liotine's "vision didn't align with KPS", the company's private equity owner. This is according to union leader Tim Reiter with United Steelworkers, which represents employees in the Milwaukee, Wis., area, including some Briggs & Stratton employees at the company's Menomonee Falls, Wis., warehouse.
Reiter told The Milwaukee Business Journal that he was invited to a conference call with Briggs and KPS Capital as news of Liotine's departure spread and said "They wanted to make a clean break, because they need to turn this thing around."
A source familiar with Briggs told The Milwaukee Business Journal that Liotine "was well-liked and very customer-focused including visits with customers", but the company was not meeting KPS' financial expectations.
Briggs & Stratton CEO Joe Liotine has left the company, according to a Feb. 6 report from The Milwaukee Business Journal. The report stated Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kristina Cerniglia has been appointed interim CEO. Cerniglia has been with the company for nearly two years.
Liotine was named CEO at Briggs in August of last year, stepping in after former CEO Steve Andrews left the company after 3 years for personal reasons. Andrews had arrived at Briggs & Stratton in early 2020 as the company emerged from Chapter 11 restructuring.
During Liotine's time at Briggs, the company discontinued its Simplicity and Snapper brands and terminated a lease for large parts of its headquarters plant.
Rural Lifestyle Dealer has reached out to Briggs & Stratton for commentary and received the following statement:
Joe Liotine has exited the company. Effective immediately, SVP & CFO Kristina Cerniglia has been appointed interim CEO of Briggs & Stratton.
Kristina has been with the company for two years and has driven significant improvements across the organization in a short time. Given her leadership acumen and in-depth knowledge of the company, she is ideally positioned to lead the business during this transition period.
Before Briggs & Stratton, Kristina was SVP and CFO of Hillenbrand Inc., a publicly listed global industrial manufacturing company with $3 billion in revenue, for eight years. She began her career at United Technologies and Stanley Black & Decker.
“In the last few years, we invested considerably in growth areas, including upgrading manufacturing facilities to increase capacity for our commercial electrification and Turf & Consumer Products business. We continue to expand our Vanguard commercial engine line to accelerate growth, and our energy storage business has the industry’s most powerful line of natural gas-powered air-cooled generators,” said Cerniglia.
“I look forward to working with our long-serving leadership team to continue to drive the company’s success. We remain committed to providing our customers with the innovative, dependable products and services they rely on.”