CANTON: Back in May 2013, Sal Miraglia wasn’t happy with the just-passed vote calling for the split of Timken Co. and said so at the company’s annual shareholders meeting.
Today, the split is official, and Miraglia, who retired in 2012 as president of Timken’s now-spun-off steel division, is breathing a little bit easier.
Miraglia was among 500 or so people who attended Monday’s celebration of the unveiling of the new TimkenSteel corporate logo atop the company’s Dueber Avenue headquarters.
“I’ll be rooting for them,” Miraglia said. “I’m envious of the opportunities.”
Miraglia said a year ago he feared that splitting the company made each part more susceptible to a takeover and subsequently could hurt the Stark County community.
“It appears that’s not likely to happen,” he said. “I believe I’m a lot less concerned now.”
In any case, specialty steel maker TimkenSteel Corp. is now on its own.
Timken Co., which retains the bearings and other parts of the company, moved a short way north on Interstate 77 to its new headquarters on the company’s research campus.
“We feel good. It has been a lot of work,” said Ward J. “Tim” Timken, TimkenSteel’s chairman, chief executive officer and president whose family name is now part of two companies. (Timken Co. created the steel division in 1915.) He spoke shortly after addressing the noontime employee gathering and logo unveiling.
“It has been a busy year. We’ve had people working two or three jobs,” Timken said. Employees had to do their regular jobs for the steel business in addition to prepping for the spinoff.
“Obviously, there was some nervousness,” Timken said of the decision to split the company. “Both companies have to be financially viable.”
TimkenSteel stock begins trading today under the symbol TMST on the New York Stock Exchange. Timken, accompanied by the company’s board of directors and other senior executives, will ring the opening bell at the exchange.
Timken said he will be spending much of his time on the road over the next six months making presentations to current and prospective TimkenSteel shareholders.
The process began well more than a year ago, when Timken Co.’s largest shareholder, investment firm Relational Investors LLC, along with the California State Teachers Retirement System, pushed to spin off the steel division as a way to increase shareholder value. Timken’s board and top executives initially fought the measure but changed their minds months after Relational’s nonbinding vote passed at the May 2013 shareholders meeting.
Following the short speech from Timken and the unmasking of the logo, employees at the Dueber Avenue headquarters were treated to a catered barbecue lunch from Old Carolina Barbecue Co. A steel drum band, Found Sounds, made up of University of Akron alumni, provided a live accompaniment.
“I think we’re all on board and that we’re going to shine,” said Kathy Lewton, who has been with Timken Co. — and now TimkenSteel — for 46 years as an administrative assistant for the company’s top executives. “We’re TimkenSteel proud today.”
Corporate Controller Mandy Sterling called the spinoff “exciting.” She and others also noted that many employees had to work extra hours to meet deadlines. It wasn’t unusual to have days when they needed to work until 2 a.m. and return to the office at 7:30 or 8 a.m., she said.
Lisa Sweetnich, assistant corporate controller, said she is excited about the opportunities for her new company. But she also said she is sad that people she had worked with for 18 years at the previous unified Timken Co. are now at another location.
“It’s like missing some families,” she said.
Marella Murphy, an analyst in the finance department, said she is “extremely happy to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I would not have wanted it any other way.”
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.