Magazine article Black Enterprise

Another Lewis Leads TLC

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Another Lewis Leads TLC

Article excerpt

When Loida Nicolas Lewis became chairperson of TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. on February 1, it marked the end of a turbulent year for the No. 1 BLACK ENTERPRISE 100s company.

First, there was the sudden death of Loida's hust)and of 24 years and TLC Beatrice founder Reginald F. Lewis, of a brain hemorrhage on January 19, 1993. As part of a hastily developed succession plan, TLC Beatrice director and Reginald's half brother Jean S. Fugett Jr. took over as chairman and CEO, while roughly 55% of the company's stock remained in the control of the Lewis family.

Then, Fugett spent 1993 leading TLC Beatrice through a European recession and currency fluctuations that pulled down the revenues of the food processing and distribution company by 1.4%, to $1.2 billion, in the first nine months of the year. (While the company is based in New York, all of its operations are overseas, primarily in Western Europe.)

Finally, on January 5, the company announced that Loida, 50, had ended a period of bereavement and would replace Fugett as TLC's chairperson. (Loida Lewis declined to be interviewed by BE.) In addition, her brother-in-law would step down as CEO as soon as a suitable replacement could be found.

Fugett, 42, says that, despite speculation that he was being pushed out, he is ful'y supportive of the changes. "Loida had always been a close confidante and adviser to Reginald and an importatit key to his success," he explains, rioting that Reginald and Loida's daughter, Leslie, an undergraduate at Harvard, had joined the board of directors in 1991. …

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