Heartland CEO Forced to Sell Stock
Heartland Payment Systems CEO Robert O. Carr and his wife, Jill A. Carr, have been forced to sell an aggregate of 692,412 shares of the company’s common stock to meet obligations under a loan for which the shares were pledged as security, according to a statement the company released on Monday, March 2.
Heartland, which processes payments for nearly 250,000 businesses, reported on January 20 that hackers had achieved access to some of its data. Since then banks across the country have been announcing that their customers’ accounts were compromised. Many banks have re-issued credit and debit cards, and credit thieves have been caught using the data, embedded on new cards, to make purchases.
Carr said that the proceeds of the loan were used to refinance prior loans. The balance of the common stock of the company owned by the Carrs, approximately 4.3 million shares, continues to be subject to pledges under the loan, and it is likely that additional shares will be sold. The stock has been trading at just about $5, down from a one year high of over $27.
“I am extremely disappointed about this involuntary sale of my stock,” Carr said in a prepared statement. This forced sale is precipitated by the mix of extraordinary circumstances confronting Heartland and the recent drop in its stock price. Unfortunately, I had no ability to stop the sales by my lender. Together with my wife, I have been one of the company’s largest shareholders since its inception, and I acquired additional shares of stock in 2006 as an expression of my confidence in the company’s potential. This sale initiated by my lender does not in any way reflect my view of the company’s value and future performance potential. My confidence in Heartland remains strong, and I am enthusiastic about reestablishing my ownership position in the company over the months and years to come.”
Company spokesperson Joe Hassett says that Carr plans to keep investing in his company.
Heartland Payment Systems (HPY), 90 Nassau Street, Second Floor, Princeton 08542; 888-798-3131; fax, 609-683-3815. Robert Carr, CEO. www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com.
Recession Leads To Reassessment
After a rough January and February, Lorraine Davis has decided to celebrate. “I ran my own successful business for 25 years,” says Davis, owner of what was Cranbury-based Lorraine Davis Employment Inc. “How many people can say that?” So Davis is taking her husband out for a nice dinner. The celebration won’t rival the $4,000 bash she threw in October for her 60th birthday — “kids, horses, bands!” It will be quiet, but important nonetheless.
“It’s a change of attitude,” she says. “I was grieving the loss of my business. But now I’m looking ahead.”
Davis, who grew up in Fords, started working in the recruiting industry in 1973. After 11 years she had built up a base of clients and she saw that it was a lucrative business. She opened her own business on February 26, 1984, choosing that date to honor her mother’s birthday one year after her mother’s death.
Davis prospered, changing with the times and devising strategies to ride out the lean times. But this time it’s different. “I’ve been through three recessions,” she says. “But none of them were like this one.”
Asked the reason she shut her doors, she says: “Look at the name of my business. Do you see the word ‘employment’? Nobody is hiring.”
Davis specialized in filling administrative assistant jobs when she started her business. But, she says, that job title began to disappear when computers appeared on the scene, and it became nearly extinct “when bosses learned how to use them.”
With her bread-and-butter job placement assignments all but gone, Davis developed a whole new specialty. Her agency morphed into an employment service for the financial service industry. She placed traders, accountants, and back office workers for small to mid-size financial firms. She ticks off a partial client list — Watermark, Willow Bridge, Caxton. There is no hiring going on in their industry, she says, adding that some companies in that category are “just trying to keep their doors open.”
After months of very little business, Davis, who had weathered severe downturns in the past, decided it was futile to remain in business. “Every day I was open, I was shoveling money out the door,” she says.
Davis, already researching her next move, says that it made more sense to do so at home. She’s looking into job recruiting for “green” industries as one possibility.
“I’m 60,” she says, “but I’m not old. I’m energetic. I ride an 1,800-pound horse. I want to work.”
Bowed a bit, but optimistic, Davis cuts a phone interview short to go ride her horse, Harley.
Lorraine Davis Employment Inc., 13 North Main Street, Cranbury.
Healthcare Providers Direct Inc. (HPRD), 376 96th Street, Stone Harbor 08247; 609-919-1932. Norman Proulx, CEO. Home page: www.healthcareprovidersdirect.com.
Norman Proulx, whose company has a 10-minute blood-prick test for AIDS, moved his five-person firm out of 3371 Route 1 South, at Lawrence Commons, on February 27.
Proulx majored in accounting at Boston College, Class of 1969, and has an MBA from Boston University. After heading such companies as Gillette, Scripto, and Williamson Blades, he entered New York’s venture capital scene. He took over Gynetics, the company with the “morning after” contraceptive, after it had run the Food & Drug Administration gauntlet and sold it in 2004. Now Healthcare Providers Direct has 12 rapid diagnostic tests on the market and is developing a couple more in clinical trials.
His home office now overlooks the water and is near to the Stone Harbor Golf Club, the 40th most difficult club in the nation. (With a 7.9 handicap, Proulx can now play year-round.) The move is also convenient for two other family members in the business: his wife, Janet, and his son, Jeff. They take care of the business angles and outsource the regulatory efforts.
A drop of blood and a 10-minute wait can reveal if a patient has AIDS. The test sells to doctors for about $8 and is sold only in the United States. Proulx declines to say how many test units he sells a year. “We do pretty well,” he says.
CMC Americas Inc., 666 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro. Home page: www.bri.com.
CMC Americas has left its Plainsboro Road offices. The software company, which changed its name from Baton Rouge several years ago, has specialties in data warehousing and networking services.
Phones at its offices have been disconnected. A message on its website reads “domain name is currently parked.” There is no forwarding information.
Chapman Associates, 475 Wall Street, Princeton Home page: www.chapman-usa.com.
Merger and acquisitions firm Chapman Associates has closed its Wall Street office. A representative at Chapman’s headquarters, in Schaumberg, Illinois, confirms that the one-person office is gone. Chapman, founded in 1954, specializes in mergers involving mid-market companies, which it defines as businesses with more than $3 million in gross revenue.
The company representative was unable to provide information on why the Princeton office had been closed.
Cognos Corporation (COGN), 1 Independence Way, Princeton 08540-6621. Home page: www.cognos.com.
Cognos, the software developer that was acquired a year ago by IBM for $5 billion, appears to have left its offices on Independence Way.
IBM no longer lists New Jersey among its collection of offices worldwide. Forty employees worked from the Princeton office.
Last August, eight months after the acquisition was finalized, the Massachusetts Ethics Commission began investigating Cognos over a pair of state contracts (totaling about $17.5 million) and some alleged payoffs involving assistants of the state speaker. As of December the federal government has joined the investigation.
IBM, which did not own Cognos when the contracts were made, has refunded the money and is cooperating with the state investigations.
Action International Business Coaching, 5 Almond Court, West Windsor 08550; 609-375-2387; fax, 609-375-2001. Marshall Calman, principal. www.actioncoaching.com/marshallcalman.
Marshall Calman, who opened a central New Jersey branch of Action International Business Coaching, has moved his offices from Overlook Drive to Almond Court.
Calman, who gives talks on business practices, often makes the point that every business has challenging times. “In challenging times business owners need new strategies to get back to growth,” Calman says.
A 1980 graduate of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, Calman earned an MBA from Farleigh Dickinson University in 1989. He joined the Action International franchise after spending 20 years in the corporate world
In a Fast Lane article in the February 25 issue, we incorrectly implied that just one Gloria Nilson GMAC office, the location on Alexander Road, has been acquired. In fact, according to a company press release, “the former 16 company-owned offices will now become franchised offices of GMAC Real Estate.”
Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate, in turn, has been has been purchased by SCS Realty Investment Group LLC, a firm led by 40-year real estate veteran Dick Schlott.
As part of the agreement, Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate will continue to operate under that name and will become a franchisee of GMAC Real Estate, owned by Brookfield Residential Property Services.
Helene Klein, 60, on February 26. She was a vice president at Merrill Lynch for nearly 20 years.