A Chat with the Real Maytag Repairman

Things were rough for the appliance maker even before September 11. But CEO Ralph Hake is confident he has a plan to turn things around

You remember the routine about the lonely Maytag repairman: He sits all day with nothing to do because the company's appliances never need fixing. These days, Maytag Chairman and CEO Ralph F. Hake might wish the same could be said for the company. Less than three months after he took the top job, the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington plunged the nation's economy into what Hake believes is a full-blown recession. Retail sales of Maytag products fell 50% that week and, despite a comeback a week later, remain below preattack levels. Now, Hake fears a deeper slump as anxious Americans put off plans for new homes or remodeling projects.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.