EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) - Starkey Hearing Technologies founder and CEO William F. Austin has confirmed an ongoing investigation at the company, and an email to employees obtained by Fox 9 says 4 top executives have been fired.
Email to Starkey employees
"Jerry Ruzicka, Scott Nelson, Keith Guggenberger and Larry Miller have been terminated effective immediately. We cannot disclose additional information due to the ongoing investigation. I want to thank all of you on the Starkey team. Business will be conducted as usual, and I look forward to moving forward together and achieving the success that we all want to be part of. Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today."
Ruzicka, the company’s president, had been with Starkey for nearly 40 years. Nelson was chief financial officer, Miller the vice president of human resources and Guggenberger the senior vice president of operations.
Executive profiles for Ruzicka, Nelson, Guggenberger and Miller were removed from the Starkey website on Wednesday.
Statement from William F. Austin
“We can't comment due to an ongoing investigation. There are no issues that affect our company and it's business as usual.”
According to industry reports, Starkey is the 5th largest hearing aid manufacturer in the world, with some 3,600 employees. Workers at Starkey’s sprawling campus along Highway 169 in Eden Prairie, Minn. refused to comment, though some expressed real shock about the news.
The company’s charitable arm, the Starkey Foundation, is famous for hosting an annual red carpet gala in the Twin Cities that has drawn big-time celebrities – former President George W. Bush and pop star Katy Perry among the headliners in 2015. There’s no indication these 4 executives had anything to do with that work, which includes providing free hearing devices across the globe.
The FBI and Hennepin County attorney’s office said they have no connection to the Starkey investigation at this point, and Eden Prairie police told Fox 9 they’re not involved.