Reggie Fountain out

Published 11:34 am Sunday, December 12, 2010

By Staff
Staff Report
Reggie Fountain, president and CEO of Fountain Powerboats, on Friday announced his resignation from the company he founded more than 30 years ago and developed into the world’s leading high-performance boat manufacturer. According to the Fountain Boats website, Fountain was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday.
“When I first started building performance sport and fishing boats in the late 1970s, I was personally involved in every facet of the operation,” said Fountain in a news release. “At this stage of my career I’ve come full circle and want to return to the custom, one-on-one roots I started with.”
“There are key differences in opinion and philosophy between the current owners and myself on how to run the company,” said Fountain in the release. “I’ve always been one that plotted his own course and feel the best ways to utilize my talents is in new product development, racing and working directly with my customers. The performance-boat business is changing fast, and there are certain basic elements that must be in place to succeed.”
“We’ve sold more than a billion dollars worth of boats since we started,” concluded Fountain, “and although I’m not able to announce any firm plans moving forward, boat building has always been my passion and the future looks both exciting and challenging.”
Fountain’s resignation comes about two weeks after local and state officials announced the expansion of boat-making operations, which could bring a little more than 400 jobs, at the Fountain Powerboats complex in Beaufort County. The Donzi Marine and Pro-Line boat operations will consolidate with Fountain at the Fountain complex. The complex also produces Baja boats.
The official consolidation announcement was made Nov. 22 by Keith Crisco, North Carolina’s secretary of commerce.
In addition to the expected jobs, the combination of four boat lines on one complex will result in an investment of $5.1 million through 2015, Crisco said then.
The move was spurred by a $150,000 grant to Fountain Powerboats from the One North Carolina Fund, Crisco said.
The grant, to be paid in installments, is contingent upon the boat manufacturers meeting certain performance targets, he said.
Fountain Powerboat Industries Inc., the parent company of Fountain Powerboats, emerged from bankruptcy in February.
In late August 2009, Fountain filed for bankruptcy protection. Several weeks later, the company’s $19.6 million bank note was purchased by a third party, Oxford Investment Group. A bankruptcy auction of the company’s assets was set for early October 2009, but the company instead moved to restructure its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganize with Liberty Investments. Later, Liberty became the majority owner of Fountain Powerboats. Fountain was retained as the company’s president and CEO, and Bill Gates was named chairman.