New Linear Group Adds Management

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Carlsbad, Calif. - The new business group

formed earlier this year

to combine three Linear-owned residential installation companies -- Niles, Xantech and Elan Home System -- has expanded its group-level management ranks with the appointment of the group's first chief technology officer, finance VP and operations VP.


The business unit, renamed the AVC Group from the Linear Audio Video Control Group, was formed in April to increase collaboration and efficiencies among the three brands without merging their sales and marketing operations. The group includes the Elan-marketed Aton and Sunfire brands. Linear-owned brands not part of the new group include Gefen, Omnimount, Panamax, SpeakerCraft and others.

With the appointments, the AVC Group's senior management team adds chief technology officer Bob Farinelli, who was Elan's president/chief technology officer; finance VP Richard Schnell, who was SpeakerCraft's finance VP; and operations VP Vipul Doshi, who was Niles's operations VP.

In other management changes, Paul Starkey was promoted from Elan executive VP to Farinelli's previous position as Elan president. Mike "Sparky" Detmer, Niles sales and marketing VP, was promoted to the position of Niles president, replacing Frank Sterns, who left the company. Graham Hallett remains Xantech president.

 The appointments were made by AVC Group president Mark Terry, a 17-year Harman International veteran who most recently was president of the Harman Pro Group. "This is the ‘A' Team that will solidify and extend our position as the industry's leading supplier of audio, video and control technologies and systems solutions," Terry said.

Following the collapse of the new-home construction market, Linear chairman Grant Rummell hired Terry to "improve collaboration and cooperation among the companies, which Linear acquired over the years and allowed to operate relatively independently. The company, however, promised not to sacrifice brand autonomy or have the same sales team sell all three companies' products.

Linear chairman Grant Rummell said at the time, "The companies will not merge, and they will still have a great deal of autonomy and differentiation." Elan's Farinelli also said at the time that Linear would not have the same sales team sell all three companies' products.

As chief technology officer Farinelli will "work closely with each of our companies to develop the technology platforms that will help drive our customers' businesses for years to come," Terry said. "His ability to identify emerging technologies that have broad-based market applications is second to none."

Finance VP Schnell was responsible for all administrative activities at SpeakerCraft when he was finance VP there, and before that, he was Linear's controller. Operations VP Doshi, before becoming Niles operations VP, was Vizio's senior manager of strategic partner management and Kinpro Group engineering director.

New Niles president Detmer has been with Niles since 1999, starting as director of field operations before becoming sales and marketing VP in 2003.  Previously, he was sales and marketing VP at Krell and Infinity product manager and training director. 

New Elan president Starkey joined Elan in 1993, having previously been CEO of online video conferencing company DataBeam.

Linear is owned by


, which last December emerged from a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Nortek, through its various subsidiaries, offers residential and commercial ventilation, HVAC, and home-technology convenience and security products.


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