David Withers, president/CEO of Jacobsen, says he is leaving the company at the end of this month after 24 years of service.
In an email response to GCM, Withers says he decided the timing was right to step away after it was announced earlier this year that Jacobsen and Textron Specialized Vehicles would integrate operations and move from Charlotte, N.C., to Augusta, Ga. The completion of merging operations is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
"As such, my role would have moved to Augusta, and I decided that this was not something that I wanted to do and felt that the timing was right for us to start looking at a move back to the UK," Withers wrote. "I also think that the merger of the two brands will work better if it is truly integrated, and I think that integration will be easier and more complete without there being an incumbent president of Jacobsen in the mix."
Kevin Holleran, president and CEO of Textron Specialized Vehicles, will have the same title now at Jacobsen.
"I think there will be opportunities to build on what we have achieved these last years and also to leverage the two brands together to win more business," he says. "What I mean by that is there will be the ability to leverage the E-Z-Go (a Textron brand) and Jacobsen brands into the customer base. If a golf course or group are purchasing a lot of Jacobsen equipment but also a buggy fleet competitive to E-Z-Go, then maybe in the future it will make sense to buy it all from one company and get additional advantages due to the increased volume of business going to one vendor."
The philosophy that Withers says he brought to his role at Jacobsen was based on what he calls the 3 Bs: Building relationships with customers the most important thing we can do; build a great machine that makes the customers' lives easier; and back products for the whole life of the machine, which is key to a customer's success.
"I think that if Jacobsen stays true to these tenets, the company will only continue to grow and succeed as it has these last years, and I wish the company and all its wonderful employees and customers every success for the future," he says.
Withers joined Jacobsen in 1992 as a regional sales manager in the UK. In 2011, he became president and was stationed in Charlotte. As for the future, Withers is exploring it.
"I am hopeful that I can stay in this industry, as I have so many friends and relationships that it would seem sad not to continue to build them in the future, albeit with another company," he says.
Read more about the plans for Textron Specialized Vehicles and Jacobsen in Augusta in the January issue of GCM.