The board of directors of Ecology & Environment has overthrown the family that has dominated its leadership team since its founding, removing Gerhard Neumaier as chairman, demoting his son Kevin from the role of CEO and firing another Neumaier family member as manager of the company’s China subsidiary.
Citing a desire to “enhance management performance and improve the company’s profitability,” the board named Gerald A. Strobel CEO at a special board meeting Wednesday, according to a news release. It also amended the corporate bylaws to create a CEO position separately from the role of president and to formally recognize a “chairman of the board” position, which it then promoted Frank Silvestro to fill.
Both Strobel and Silvestro are executive vice presidents and two of the four co-founders of the Lancaster-based environmental consulting firm, along with the elder Neumaier. Strobel is the company’s largest shareholder, holding 8.43 percent of the stock. Silvestro, 76, has been an executive vice president since August 1986 and previously served as a vice president since the company’s formation.
Strobel will now oversee Kevin Neumaier, who will remain as president and will “initially preside” over the company’s domestic U.S. operations “at the CEO’s direction,” the news release said. The president will, however, preside at shareholders’ meetings.
Gerhard Neumaier, who founded the company in 1970, remains a director and will “continue to pursue opportunities in the China market,” which the company has touted for its potential.
However, Volker Neumaier, former China subsidiary manager, was fired July 31. No reason was given, nor was his relationship to the other Neumaiers specified. But E&E board member Ross M. Cellino Sr. said the board felt nothing was being accomplished in China, and directors weren’t happy with the performance there.
The board coup comes as Ecology & Environment struggles to revive its flagging revenues and stock price, both of which have suffe