Banking & Finance and Manufacturing

Blackford company names CEO

December 30, 2015
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An experienced executive in the automotive industry is transitioning into a leadership role with a Blackford Capital portfolio company.

Burgaflex North America, a maker of coolant system tube and hose assemblies, has appointed Erik Roeren as CEO of the Fenton-based manufacturer.

The appointment

David Kennedy, former CEO and founder of Burgaflex, indicated in a statement to employees to support the next phase of the company’s growth, it has been his goal to “pass the reins on to a new leader.”

“With that goal in mind, it is my pleasure to announce Erik Roeren as Burgaflex’s next CEO,” said Kennedy. “(Roeren) has a great amount of experience in our industry and brings with him a wealth of leadership experience. He is a more than welcome addition to the Burgaflex team.”

In response to the leadership appointment, Roeren said he is both honored and excited to be able to lead the company.

“(Kennedy) and his team have built an excellent business over the last 11 years,” said Roeren. “We plan to continue our path of profitable growth through international expansion in our core markets, with a continued focus on operational excellence and customer service.”

His background

Roeren has more than 20 years of experience serving in management and executive leadership roles, and most recently served as president and CEO of Oklahoma-based ATC Drivetrain LLC. He also has experience developing and managing operations in Europe, North America and Asia; and has held leadership positions at Webasto Roof Systems, Karmann, Eberspaecher, ArvinMeritor and ITT Automotive.

Roeren’s academic background includes completing the ITT Automotive Executive Development program at Duke University, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Technical University Darmstadt in Germany.

Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital and chair of Burgaflex’s board of directors, said Roeren is a proven leader with a track record of improving processes, leading business development and driving profitable growth both domestically and internationally.

“He has spent his entire career in the industry with a vast majority of his time spent based in Michigan,” said Stein. “We are confident that he is going to excel leading this great company, and are very excited to welcome him to this excellent team.”

Blackford’s role

In July 2014 the Grand Rapids-based private equity firm acquired Burgaflex NA through its Michigan Prosperity Fund, which invests in lower middle-market businesses in Michigan. The investment was anticipated to help spur growth for the Fenton-based company. Burgaflex NA and Blackford later acquired Stuttgart-based Burgaflex GmbH, which manufactures and supplies similar products to markets throughout Germany.

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