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Runkle Lands at Eagle Picher

The executive left Delphi last year before it landed in bankruptcy and now is non-executive chairman of Eagle Picher, which just emerged from Chapter 11.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Don Runkle retired as vice chairman of Delphi Corp. on June 30, 2005, just ahead of Delphi’s plunge into bankruptcy.

“Maybe I was just lucky,” he quips.

A year later, he lands as non-executive chairman of Eagle Picher Corp., which itself recently emerged from bankruptcy after 15 months in Chapter 11 and completed restructuring on Aug.1.

“That’s behind us,” says Runkle, who formally joined Eagle Picher Aug. 8.

Besides Eagle Picher, Runkle also is senior executive advisor to Solectron Corp., an $11 billion-per-year electronics manufacturer.

A diversified producer of automotive, aerospace/defense, pharmaceutical and filtration products, Eagle Picher was purchased last November by two private equity firms – Tennenbaum Capital of Santa Monica, CA, and Angelo, Gordon Co. of New York City – and now operates as a holding company.

Corporate headquarters have moved since from Phoenix, AZ, to Inkster, MI.

Runkle, here for the Management Briefing Seminars, says the privately held Eagle Picher is not considering an initial public offering.

“We can buy additional companies, however, and we’re looking primarily at non-automotive companies,” he says. Eagle Picher management also is focusing on improving some of its operations and beefing up marketing efforts, he adds.

Under the prior management, Eagle Picher experienced “a failed China strategy,” he says, “and several joint ventures they tried didn’t work out.”

During the restructuring, Eagle Picher closed some plants “and straightened out the JVs,” he says.

Eagle Picher’s revenues currently are running at $700 million annually, with automotive accounting for $220 million in the areas of cast-iron and steel components, including engine dampers.

The aerospace and defense sector, which purchases powerful, highly engineered batteries and other products from Eagle Picher, is the second-largest part of the revenue stream, at $130 million annually.

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