Huffer Discusses Apogee’s Outlook; Company’s Search for a New CEO
April 8, 2011

While Fiscal 2011 was not without challenges for commercial construction, Russ Huffer, chief executive officer (CEO) of Apogee Enterprises, is looking toward the future and is optimistic that the industry is starting to see signs of improvement. Huffer discussed the company’s Fiscal 2011 full year and fourth quarter results during a webcast, as well as the company’s outlook and its search for a new CEO.

Huffer says Fiscal 2011 brought both challenges and positives for Apogee.

“The commercial construction market remained weak … impacting revenue,” he says. “Low architectural glass prices and low architectural segment capacity utilization lead to losses for Apogee.”

On a positive note, though, he adds that “Apogee ended the fiscal year with the highest quarterly revenue level for the year as our architectural segment revenue decline slowed and our architectural segment backlog grew for the first time since it peaked at the end of Fiscal 2008, signaling that our markets may be stabilizing.”

He also recognized the good execution of the company’s installation business in the fourth quarter, “as it completed projects it’d been awarded with higher margins.”

Huffer is also optimistic about the future.

“We believe we are finally seeing hints of an upturn for our architectural business, even though a stronger economy and more jobs are needed to bring renewed life to our commercial construction,” he says. “For fiscal 2012 we are expecting modest growth and revenues and believe we have the potential to be profitable for the year.”

He adds, “[we are] expecting the actions we have taken in our architectural businesses, ranging from price increases and productivity improvements to product selection changes, will result in improving results as Fiscal 2012 progresses.”
Huffer also says architectural bid activity remains good and continues to be driven by institutional work.

“We are starting to see early signs of improvement in some markets, including the private sector, however the majority of work currently being bid is scheduled for 2013,” he says. “We believe we have the financial strength to work our way through the weak market conditions and remain focused on our growth strategy for the recovery.”

He adds, “We believe we are positioned to get through the downturn and positioned for the future and that’s where the company’s energies are and that’s where mine are.”

Huffer also took the opportunity to discuss his retirement, which he announced earlier this year, as well as the search for a new CEO, currently underway.

“Rest assured, I will continue to be focused on positioning Apogee for future success in the next year,” he says. “Regarding the CEO search, it is still early in the process. A committee of the board of directors is dedicating considerable effort to identify strong candidates to guide Apogee through the next commercial construction cycle. The board has developed a job description and is selecting a search firm. The search process could take several months and I am committed to lead Apogee as long as needed.”

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