Local News

June 15, 2007

Boe takes over

The 28-year floorcovering veteran elected to lead Beaulieu of America as its chief executive officer through the aftermath of a troubling federal tax evasion case says he does not believe it will have any negative effects on the company.

Ralph Boe, who has been with Beaulieu of America since June 2001, said he has run the day-to-day operations of the world’s third largest carpet manufacturer for the past six years.

“We don’t expect any change in the business level with those customers based on the comments that they’ve made to us,” Boe said at a press conference Friday afternoon. “They recognize that it’s a serious situation but they also appreciate that we’ve been diligent about how we’ve taken care of it and things are looking positive going forward.”

Beaulieu of America on Friday pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion dating to 2000 and will pay $33.38 million in back taxes, fines, penalties and court costs. No individuals were criminally charged.

As part of the plea agreement, Carl Bouckaert stepped down as company CEO but will remain as board chairman. He cannot be part of the company’s day-to-day operations. His ex-wife, Mieke Hanssens, will no longer be executive vice president and also cannot be involved in day-to-day operations. She will remain on the company’s board.

Bouckaert and Hanssens co-founded the company in 1978. They will continue to own the business. The Bouckaerts could not immediately be reached for comment and did not attend the press conference.

Beaulieu’s board elected Boe CEO on Friday.

Boe said the company had been waiting for a resolution to the investigation, which involved six countries and spanned 10 years.

“From operating the business day in to day out, he’s (Carl Bouckaert) basically given up the reins some time ago, probably in anticipation that this day was going to come, and wanted to be sure that we were on solid ground and were operating well without his day-to-day involvement,” Boe said.

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