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Robert Trigaux

Utek founder Gross retires, company takes loss

2

March

Cliffordgrossutek1997frasierhale Tampa-based Utek Corp., whose corporate clients use it to help find university research to help their businesses, on Monday reported a loss for 2008 of just over $8-million but -- more lasting -- also said founder and CEO Clifford Gross retired, effective March 1, from his position and will not stand for re-election as chairman of the board.

Prior to starting Utek, Gross was an ergonomics guru at the University of South Florida. He earned a doctorate at 23 from New York University, then made his name inventing a range of products, including the Black & Decker products that fit comfortably in a human grip. The photo (by Fraser Hale of the St. Petersburg Times) shows Gross in 1997 while working at USF's College of Public Health.

In a release, Utek said Gross is entitled to receive a severance payment equal to the number of years he worked for the Company times $100,000 per year, plus an additional sum to cover any tax liability. Gross was employed by the company for 11.5 years, so 11.5 x $100,00 = $1.15 million. Here's what Gross said in a parting statement:

“I am pleased with the results of our efforts to transition Utek from its original business model to one that builds on that traditional – and unique – strength in putting technology to use in business. By focusing on innovation services, we are extending our expertise to our clients’ benefit. I am also proud of the strong management team that we have built at Utek. Part of the succession plan was to create a strong collaborative internal management structure, as most recently indicated by the promotion of Doug Schaedler as president.”

Schaedler last month was named Utek president after serving as chief operating officer and chief compliance officer since 2004.

We'll update any news that may come from a morning conference call by Utek. Company shares (ticker is UTK) dipped under $8 Monday morning from a 52-week high of $12.47.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:24pm]

    

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