Business: Quiet Purge at Goodrich

Around the Portage Country Club in Akron, Ohio, conversation these days is anxious, subdued, and addressed to one topic: dismissals of executives and white-collar workers at B. F. Goodrich Co. Since September, the fourth largest U.S. tiremaker has quietly retired or fired several hundred employees, including one vice president and many middle-aged people who have spent the bulk of their working lives with the company. The dismissals have often been abrupt, impersonal and accompanied by a minimum in severance pay.

The purge is a result of last spring's attempted takeover of Goodrich by Ben Heineman's Chicago-based Northwest Industries. Goodrich waged a successful...

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