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President of AAI's parent firm quits United Industrial fires finance chief, reviews company's direction


In a major shake-up of its top management, United Industrial Corp., the parent of Cockeysville-based AAI Corp., has announced the resignation of its president and chief executive and the firing of its chief financial officer.

P. David Bocksch, the president and corporate chief, and Thomas J. Carmody, the financial chief, were hired in late March and late April, respectively, with the goal of turning around a company that has seen its sales and earnings drop significantly in recent years.

Their departures come as UIC is undergoing a strategic review of all of its operations that could determine the company's direction in the years ahead.

Richard R. Erkeneff, who was brought in two years ago to head AAI, has been named acting president of the New York-based parent company. AAI accounts for about 85 percent of UIC's sales.

The changes at UIC eliminate one third of the company's top management, and they came as a surprise to workers at AAI on York Road, who learned of the changes in a bulletin when they arrived for work yesterday morning.

At least one member of UIC's board of directors was also surprised.

"I didn't vote to get rid of him [Mr. Bocksch]," said Myron Simons, a financial consultant who has served on UIC's board for 17 years.

Mr. Simons declined to offer any additional insight into the management changes.

The company didn't add much more.

Asked if the board was surprised by Mr. Bocksch's sudden resignation, Susan Fein Zawel, vice president for communications, responded: "I really have no comment about that." Maybe some people were surprised, maybe some people weren't."

Ms. Zawel said Mr. Bocksch's departure was a "peaceful divorce."

Ms. Zawel said Mr. Carmody was dismissed. She explained that James H. Perry, who has been treasurer of UIC since December 1994, will be assuming the duties and responsibilities of the fired chief financial officer.

"We found that it was not necessary to have two financial officers here," said Ms. Zawel.

Mr. Carmody was brought into the company by Mr. Bocksch.

According to sources close to the company, Mr. Bocksch clashed with other members of UIC's management team.

Mr. Bocksch, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, was hired after what the company termed at the time "a careful search." In making the announcement of Mr. Bocksch's hiring, Bernard Fein, the chairman of UIC, said: "The board is confident that his wide background in management, sales, and marketing and his broad experience in international business will be especially valuable assets to our company."

He was a managing partner of Dalexis Partners Inc., a company that provides management consulting services and forms partnership arrangements.

He formerly served as president and chief executive of Pinkerton Inc., a security company.

Mr. Erkeneff said the management changes should not disrupt the operation at AAI. He said the strategic review will continue and should be wrapped up by the end of the year.

He will run UIC from his office at AAI and will continue to serve as president of the local subsidiary. Mr. Erkeneff said he is being considered as a permanent replacement for Mr. Bocksch.

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