"There were less than 250 people working in Tecumseh when we closed there," says Hess. "The bulk of the manufacturing work went to Tupelo, Mississippi, and a small amount went to Canada. Global headquarters came to Ann Arbor, and fifty or so engineers are still in Tecumseh.
"The city was incredibly gracious," Hess continues. "Of course, they were disappointed when we announced the move, but they understood." It helped ease the blow when, last September, Governor Jennifer Granholm announced that Ohio-based Consolidated Biscuit would buy part of the Tecumseh Products plant, bringing 500 jobs to the city.
That deal, however, has yet to close-most likely because Consolidated, like Tecumseh Products, is being whipsawed by the economy. Tecumseh has already cut staff at its Ann Arbor headquarters, from 110 people last August to about eighty-five in April.
Tecumseh's gyrating stock price tells a similar tale. In the prosperous late 1990s, it traded at $55 a share. By April 2007, after the Herricks' ouster, it had fallen to just $10. A year ago, it had rebounded to $35 a share, only to slide again-in mid-April, it was trading at $6.70.