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Buch to exit Timet, venture outside titanium

Keywords: Tags  James M. Buch, titanium, Titanium Metals, Timet, Precision Castparts, PCC, Steve Hackett, James Pieron Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Titanium Metals Corp. (Timet) is looking for a new top sales executive with the exit of James M. Buch, executive vice president of commercial, according to industry sources.

Buch, who has spent more than a dozen years at Exton, Pa.-based Timet, is possibly taking a position outside the titanium industry, sources said this week, noting that he had told company employees of his plans to leave during a conference call. They said that while Buch didn’t identify his new employer, he had said it represented an opportunity he "couldn’t pass up."

A spokesman for Timet’s parent company, Portland, Ore.-based Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC), a supplier of castings, forgings, fasteners and aerostructures, declined to comment.

No permanent replacement for Buch has been named yet, although Timet’s sales staff will report to James Pieron, executive vice president of operations and logistics, industry sources said.

A number of people said Buch has been Timet’s most familiar face for many of the company’s top aerospace and other customers. They noted that in the years immediately prior to PCC’s $2.9-billion acquisition this past December, Timet’s presidents were generally best known as associates of the company’s controlling shareholder, Dallas-based billionaire investor Harold C. Simmons.

An executive in the aerospace supply chain described Buch as "one of those standout guys in the industry that you just enjoy getting the opportunity to work with," and credited him as the "main reason" his company initially became a Timet customer.

Timet is still transitioning to its new ownership, according to industry observers, who noted that company president Steve Hackett is a longtime PCC executive who has specialized in bringing acquisitions into the parent’s reporting system that’s considered highly successful but nevertheless extremely demanding.

Buch started with Timet in April 2001 as vice president of sales and was named vice president of commercial in 2003, responsible for global sales and marketing, business development and service center sales and operations. Prior to joining Timet, Buch was vice president of sales and marketing at a company specializing in industrial textiles.

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