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Benjamin Moore CEO Abrams fired; replaced by Bob Merritt as of June 6

June 15, 2012

Billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has fired Benjamin Moore's CEO Dennis Abrams. A published report in the New York Post said that the former CEO used company money to treat top executives on a Bermuda getaway.

A spokeswoman for Benjamin Moore confirmed Denis Abrams was no longer running the 129-year-old company, which Berkshire acquired in late 2000 for about $1 billion. As of June 6 he was replaced by Bob Merritt, an outside executive from the restaurant industry.

Both Benjamin Moore and Berkshire officials refused to comment officially on the matter.

The New York Post reported that Berkshire executives traveled to Benjamin Moore headquarters in New Jersey and escorted Abrams from the building. The company-sponsored yacht trip in Bermuda was reportedly to celebrate a rise in quarterly sales, the first in five years, the newspaper said.

According to the article, the 62-year-old Abrams was not popular with Benjamin Moore employees, who the past five years have endured numerous rounds of layoffs and salary cuts as the company struggled to keep its head above water after the housing market collapsed. The company's revenue is reportedly half of its $1.1 billion high water mark before the recession hit.

It wasn't just employees but retailers also levied complaints against Abrams for price hikes and exclusive deals with large distributors at the expensive of smaller independents the newspaper said.

A source told the Post that one of the wives on the yacht cruise posted photos on her Facebook page, and news of the party spread through the office.