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Maytag CEO Ralph Hake Is Leaving
Apr 3, 2006
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Maytag Corporation Chairman and CEO Ralph Hake said today he will leave the company now that it has been acquired by Whirlpool Corporation.

"I will not be staying with the company, by choice, as Whirlpool already has the leadership required," Hake (pictured) said during a conference call to employees.

Spokesman Steve Duthie said Whirlpool does not expect other executive departures immediately, but added, "These meetings are just now getting under way. Over the course of the next four to eight weeks, you'll be seeing some adjustments."

Hake and Whirlpool: There and Back Again
Ralph F. Hake holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Cincinnati. He held positions with Mead Corporation before getting into the appliance business.

Hake joined Whirlpool Corporation in 1987 as vice president of financial planning and analysis. He served in corporate planning and as controller, then in 1991 was named vice president of Whirlpool Europe and president of Bauknecht, Whirlpool's premium brand in Europe.

Whirlpool eventually named Hake executive vice president for the North American region, and in 1997 made him senior executive vice president for global operations. In 1998, he became Whirlpool's senior executive vice president and CFO.

But in 1999 Hake left the appliance company to join Fluor Corporation, a U.S. $10 billion engineering, construction and professional services firm, as CFO and executive vice president.

He wasn't out of the appliance business for long. In September 2001, Hake was named Chairman and CEO of Maytag Corporation. Interestingly, one his stated challenges as he took the position was to deal with the integration of Maytag's latest acquisition—Amana Appliances, which Maytag purchased in mid-2001 from Goodman Global Holding Company.

Hake was at the helm as Maytag returned disappointing results, and he spearheaded a major restructuring begun in June 2004. The strategy consolidated the Hoover Floor Care, Maytag Appliances and corporate headquarters organizations. Streamlining of manufacturing operations began as well.

Hake also helped forge an agreement to sell Maytag to the Ripplewood Holdings group of investors. When the agreement was announced in May 2005, it touched off a bidding war that soon involved Chinese appliance OEM Haier and Hake's former employer, Whirlpool. Whirlpool outbid Ripplewood and Haier and gained the support of Maytag shareholders. When the antitrust issues were finally resolved last week, the merger proceeded within 48 hours. Ralph Hake one again found himself an employee of Whirlpool Corporation, at least temporarily. He said today he will not remain at Whirlpool.

"I have many things I still want to pursue and accomplish in life," Hake said, "and this gives me the opportunity to move onto the next chapter."

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