July 30--Some seven months after the former Veyance Technologies was bought by German tire and automotive supplier Continental AG's ContiTech division, the company showed off its revamped North American headquarters in Fairlawn.
Wednesday's unveiling included a new corporate headquarters sign and logo at the front of the property off Cleveland-Massillon Road.
The $2.1 billion company, which started in 1898 and evolved into Goodyear's Engineered Products division, was sold by the Akron tire maker in 2007 for $1.5 billion to private equity firm Carlyle Group and renamed Veyance. Carlyle Group in turn sold Veyance to Continental AG for about $1.9 billion.
The company makes conveyor belts, rubber hoses and other products.
"We had a good run, a seven-year run, with Carlyle Group," Jim Hill, ContiTech NAFTA chief executive officer, said in an outdoor ceremony with employees to unveil the corporate logo. "I will be honest with you, it was a big change for us in 2007, when [Goodyear] decided to concentrate on tires and the Engineered Products division was sold."
Then the ContiTech purchase came along, Hill said.
"As with any acquisition, there are varying degrees of apprehension," he said. "However, we already got through the change with Carlyle at that time. At this time, we realized that this was an opportunity for us to grow."
The newly renamed company now needs to draw on the best of its legacy with Goodyear and from Continental, he said.
"We're happy to still be able to call this place home," Hill said after the short ceremony in a meeting with local and trade media.
The company no longer makes Goodyear-brand products, he said. Instead, ContiTech is starting to roll out a new brand: Continental Elite.
About 180 people work at the Fairlawn facility, with 100 to 120 in the headquarters building, which was built in 2007. The balance of the Fairlawn employees work in the adjacent tech and research and development center that opened a year later. The two buildings are connected.
The former Veyance soon should finish integrating its systems with its ContiTech parent, Hill said.
The Veyance employees will take longer to integrate into the corporate culture of ContiTech and Continental, he said.
"I think everybody embraces it and everybody welcomes the opportunity to be part of Continental ContiTech going forward," Hill said.
Carlyle Group was a good corporate owner that helped Veyance Technologies grow, he said.
"But after seven years, I think the majority of associates at Veyance welcome the opportunity to be part of a manufacturing company again that adds a high degree of certainty to our future," Hill said. "It gives that stability and long-term vision for all the associates to feel good about their positions and what they can do for the company."
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ. His stories can be found at www.ohio.com/writers/jim-mackinnon.
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