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Shimizu: It's time to say goodbye

Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, January 20, 2003

Closing out a 20-year career at Pillowtex Corp., and writing one of the last pages in the chronicle of the company's dramatic rise and fall from grace, Scott Shimizu has resigned as executive vp, effective at the end of this month.

Shimizu joined the company almost 21 years ago, in June 1982 as a salesman in the Chicago office and rose through the ranks to become head of sales and marketing, then most recently to his current post. A one-time confidante to former ceo Chuck Hansen, Shimizu was one of a handful of individuals credited with holding the company together during the last days of Hansen's regime; its subsequent bankruptcy; and more recently, a series of top management shifts that included the ouster of former president and coo Tony Williams.

"It's just time to go," Shimizu told Home Textiles Today in a telephone interview. "It was great while it lasted, and I love this place; it's been my whole life, but it's time."

Shimizu said he has no current plans. "I'm still here through the end of this month, and I'll think about it then."

Shimizu was one of the three principal agents of Pillowtex's growth over the past decades, along with former owner John Silverthorne and, later, Hansen. During Shimizu's tenure, the company grew from $35 million in annual sales to slightly in excess of $1.5 billion after it acquired Fieldcrest Cannon.

What's he most proud of?

"You know, it's the queerest thing in the world …but the thing that I'm really proud of is that we never missed a payroll," he said. "Even when things were at their worst, when the wheels were falling off the company, when Hansen was out of there and no one was really running the company before we went into bankruptcy. We never missed a single one.

"It wasn't easy, and sometimes we had to get real creative; but we always got the paychecks out. Sometimes with a lot of help from friends, but we did it."

What will he miss the most? "Everything. The people, the products, the customers. I love it here. This place has been my life. Even at its worst, it was the best place in the world to work."

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