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Firm’s Officers Demoted Amid Pentagon Audit

Times Staff Writer

Garrett Corp. has demoted the president and senior vice president of its AiResearch Manufacturing unit amid growing problems that have surfaced recently in a Pentagon audit of the company.

AiResearch President A. G. Izuel and Senior Vice President Henry J. Lopez have been assigned to Garrett’s corporate staff in Torrance, a company spokesman said.

Izuel and Lopez were given the title of staff directors on special assignment, the spokesman said. He declined to comment on reports that the move represented an effective demotion.

The reassignment comes as Garrett is under continuing fire by the Defense Contract Administration Service, a Pentagon agency, which is conducting a wide-ranging review of Garrett’s operation.

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Request for Action

The agency notified AiResearch late last month in a letter addressed to Izuel that its “procedures for welding and qualification of welders are unacceptable.” The letter was a request for corrective action.

AiResearch could potentially have acceptance of its military equipment suspended. The unit is a major supplier of military aircraft cabin pressurization systems, which are among the welded products under examination.

The letter threatened that “DCAS will discontinue acceptance of welded products where acceptable procedures are not being strictly followed: First, qualify each welder, and second, perform production welding as required.”

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Such a demand is not easy to satisfy. The letter notes that Garrett’s procedures to qualify welders and to perform welding up to specifications are “non-existent in most cases.”

So far, no suspension has been imposed, said Cyrillo Saldana Jr., chief of quality assurance at the agency and author of the letter.

A Garrett spokesman declined, however, to comment on the letter.

Garrett already had been sharply reprimanded by the agency for poor performance in its purchasing department. An internal Garrett memo, dated March 10, cited 16 areas of deficiency in the purchasing practices of AiResearch.

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The agency found that competitive bidding had declined, unauthorized buying activity existed and documentation was poor, among other problems.

Last year, Garrett fired 13 purchasing agents in a kickbacks investigation. House and Senate subcommittees are looking into the problems at the firm.

Garrett named John A. Boppart, formerly of Garrett Turbine Engine, as president. M. L. (MacK) Hamilton, formerly a vice president for engineering at AiResearch, was named senior vice president.

Garrett, a unit of Allied-Signal Inc., produces a diversified line of aerospace products with annual sales of $2.5 billion.

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AiResearch is the nation’s largest manufacturer of aircraft cabin pressurization systems.


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