Jerry Ruzicka and Three Other Senior Executives Leave Starkey
Starkey Hearing Technologies, Eden Prairie, Minn, has terminated the employment or accepted the resignations of at least four prominent senior executives, including President Jerry Ruzicka, Senior VP of Operations Keith Guggenberger, CFO Scott Nelson, and Senior VP of Human Resources Larry Miller.
Hearing Review requested comment from several people in the company, but did not receive an immediate response. However, a spokesperson for the company referred to a statement from Starkey Hearing Technologies Founder and CEO William F. Austin that said, “We can’t comment due to an ongoing investigation. There are no issues that affect our company and it’s business as usual.”
Ruzicka was the longest serving US president among the world’s largest “Big 6” hearing aid manufacturers, and has worked in the hearing industry for over 35 years. He began his career at Starkey as a line manager, moving up to VP of Manufacturing until being appointed company president in 1998. Since that time, Starkey’s revenues have more than tripled, with the company being focused on becoming a research and technology leader. Ruzicka has also been extremely influential in the industry, serving as the chair of the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) from 1999-2005 and 2007-2012, as well as serving on the board for many years of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Assn (EHIMA), Hearing Instrument Manufacturers’ Software Assn (HIMSA), Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Patent Partnership (HIMPP), Wilson Tool and Envoy Medical (maker of the Esteem implant). He was named the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Health Sciences Award in the Upper Midwest Region.
UPDATE: Since Hearing Review broke this news on Wednesday morning, several news sources and blogs have reported on this story, including the CBS local affiliate, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). It is believed that Ruzicka’s contract was to expire around the end of the year.
Bill is the most demanding task master I know. However, NO ONE works harder than he does. He expects the same dedication to success and effort from his employees and suppliers. You can questions his methods, but his instincts are seldom wrong. When selling our business to Starkey, I found Jerry and Scott to be nothing but professional, honorable and helpful. I wish them the best.
There are no investors nor shareholders with Starkey except one, which is Mr. Bill Austin. Starkey is a privately owned company, remember.
That is not true. As an employee, my retirement is in Starkey private stock. Bill owns 93% of the company, the employees own the rest.
I’m an ex-employee… Bill gave 49% ownership to the employees…and owns the remaining 51%..
I have known Mr. Bill Austin for almost 30 years and I choose to trust his judgement.
“There are no issues that affect our company and it’s business as usual.” Sure, Bill. We’ll buy that along with a few other Trilogy hearing aids.
I think Trilogy was a Siemens model.
Sounds bad for the company. I hope we investors will not have to pay the price for this walk out. I expect Starkey to be transparent about it.
Starkey is a privately held company. There are no investors…including you. So, stop trolling now.
Big shake up for Starkey, I guess it is a private investigation.