BUSINESS

Ousted AlarmForce chief executive calls on shareholders to reinstate him

07/23/2013 05:01 EDT | Updated 09/22/2013 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - AlarmForce Industries Inc. has fired its chief executive, but newly ousted Joel Matlin says he wants the company's shareholders to put him back in charge.

"I'm hopeful that the shareholders will let their voices be known and support me in being reinstated," he said in an interview.

"I anticipate being back running the company."

In a news release Tuesday, the home security company (TSX:AF) said it has "terminated" Matlin following a nearly year-long strategic review.

"The board and management of AlarmForce wish to thank Mr. Matlin for his dedicated years of service and numerous contributions," the Toronto-based company said in a statement.

The release said Matlin, who has been the company's high-profile spokesman and appears regularly in its television commercials, will continue to serve as a company director.

Chief financial officer Anthony Pizzonia will serve as interim president and chief executive until a permanent replacement is found.

Matlin, who holds a nearly eight per cent stake in the company, said he had scheduled a meeting with the board for Aug. 7 to talk about the company's vision going forward. But a few days ago, the board asked Matlin to come in for another meeting, in advance of the one to be held in August, he said.

Matlin said he was stunned when the company's board handed him his walking papers on Tuesday.

"To be perfectly frank, I am in shock," he said. "I never anticipated the board making this decision."

Matlin alleges his termination stems from a conflict between himself and Pizzonia.

Pizzonia could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, AlarmForce's strategic review, which included a possible sale of the company, was completed without a deal.

The company said at the time it would focus on growing its business.

Acumen Capital analyst Brian Pow said it's possible the move is related to the company's failure to find a buyer.

"Joel's been the face of the company since inception," Pow said.

"I'm certainly surprised by this at this point. Hopefully we'll get some clarity from the board at some point."

AlarmForce said a growing subscriber base and a reduction in marketing helped it nearly double its net income in the quarter ended Jan. 31.

Pow said the company has been shifting its focus to south of the border, but it's unclear if that vision will remain with Matlin gone.

"That's really where the game plan is going forward. At least it was until today," he said. "We'll have to see what happens."

Shares in AlarmForce, which were halted pending the announcement, closed up 20 cents at $10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

AlarmForce, which has operations in Canada and the United States, provides security alarm monitoring, personal emergency response monitoring, video surveillance and other services.