Robert Bob Gowens New OMC VP

Bob Gowens is new VP
30 Sept. 1998

Robert B. Gowens Appointed Vice President of Outboard Marine Corporation and President, for the North American Engine Operations

OMC Press Release
30 Sept. 1998
WAUKEGAN, Ill., Sept. 30 - David Jones, president and Chief executive officer of Outboard Marine Corporation today announced the appointment, effective October 1, of Robert B. Gowens as a vice president of OMC and president of its North American engine operations.

In this role, Gowens will be responsible for all the operations of OMC's engine group, including product development; manufacturing; finance; and sales and marketing of OMC's Johnson and Evinrude engines and OMC Genuine Parts and Accessories. In addition, Gowens will oversee the development and application of OMC's FICHT Fuel Injection technology.

"Bob Gowens' organizational and managerial skills are exceptional," said Jones. "Consolidating the operations of the engine group under one leader will accelerate the progress of the initiatives which have been put in place over the past year. Bob's ability to harness and direct the efforts of the excellent team which has been assembled at the engine group will provide OMC with the discipline and agility required to continue our turnaround plan."

Prior to joining OMC, Gowens served as Vice President and General Manager of Mercury Marine's Quicksilver Business Unit in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Mercruiser Business Unit of Mercury Marine. Earlier he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Cigarette Racing Team, Inc., which specialized in high performance boat manufacturing, located in North Miami Beach, Florida. Prior to that, he served as Vice President and Officer of Kearney, Inc. located in Cleveland, Ohio.

OMC is a leading manufacturer and marketer of marine engines, boats, accessories and FICHT fuel injection -- the industry's premier low-emission two-stroke engine technology.

RBBI Soapbox

This is another example of a major exec at one firm in the industry jumping to another. In this case the move is the same one made earlier by David Jones. These same companies make the rank and file white collar types sign noncompetitive agreements stating they will not work for direct competitors for a period of "x" years after leaving the company. But, the exec's who really know the "secrets" jump at will. This is not fair. In both these cases, I assume some of the "secrets" are being used as leverage to prevent Brunswick suing them for jumping. Both Jones and Gowens probably have information Mercury Marine would not like to see raised in the Independent Boat Builders monopoly suit. I am certainly not saying Mercury is guilty - I am only saying these two guys could say some things Mercury would rather not hear in court.

Does this mean the objective as a rank and file white collar worker should be to uncover information they could later use as a threat if they were to change employment? That certainly does not sound like a good message to be sending your employees.

Maybe the firms doing the hiring are in the wrong? Perhaps they should agree it is not ethical to hire major execs directly from the competition? Maybe the entire thing should be dropped and everybody made a free agent? This situation is going to intensify as firms seek to gain advantage by hiring competent people with inside knowledge directly from competitors.

Additional RBBI Comments

Below are two paragraphs from, ""Jones targets sales, profits in 2nd year", by Gary Beckett in the October 1998 issue of Soundings Trade Only I received today (Oct. 5).

For the past year, Jones has been barred legally under a noncompete agreement with Brunswick Corp. not to allow his inside knowledge of Mercury's engine strategies to influence his decision making at OMC. The pact Jones signed as part of a settlement with Brunswick expired in September.

Jones wouldn't say whether he'll now be more involved on the outboard side; however, he denied rumors that he will raid Mercury's management ranks for OMC recruits. " I have all the people I need right now," he said.

H'mmm, sounds to me like Jones' comments do not exactly jive with this press release?????

Also, lets get real about Jones not allowing his inside knowledge to influence decisions. If anybody out there believes that, give me a call and I'll sell you some ocean front property in Arizona. It's just a clause BC lawyers put in to save face.

Return to OMC News Page

Return to Recreational Boat Building Industry Home Page