On June 2, J. Erik Hvide
, chairman and CEO of Hvide Marine has decided to step down from his position effective immediately. Hvide's decision, formally stated at Hvide Marine's Board of Directors meeting was furthered by two factors - Mr. Hvide's own personal reasons and the company's declining profits.
Hvide, who has been with the company that bears his name for the past 29 years, took the small-family-owned operation started by his father, Hans J. Hvide in 1958, to a leading international provider of marine support and transportation services.
The former head executive was a key player in crossing Hvide Marine over to a publicly-traded company in 1996, as well as skyrocketing the company's profits from $40 million to $400 million over the past five years.
After this explosive growth in revenues that attributed to Mr. Hvide, the company began to stagger during the middle of last year due to the dwindling oil prices which resulted in a fall-off of available drilling rigs.
According to Jack O'Connell
of Hvide's corporate communications department, Mr. Hvide realized that it was time for someone else to take over.
"Erik (Hvide) recognized there was a need for change," O'Connell expressed. "It's tough to start dismantling something that you've worked so hard to build up."
O'Connell is referring to Hvide's not-so-secretive current financial troubles which include declining revenues and high-debt acquisitions.
Succeeding Mr. Hvide is Jean Fitzgerald who has been a director with Hvide Marine since
1994. A former commissioner and chairman of the Port Everglades Authority, Mr. Fitzgerald also served as a captain in the U.S. Navy - a position he retired from in 1974.
"Jean (Fitzgerald) knows the company and its customers," said Mr. O'Connell. "He will get us through our current financial crisis and will help to rebuild the company by some form of refinancing and asset sales."