National Jeweler Network

Supply

Lab-grown diamond co. Scio brings back last CEO

By Michelle Graff

July 18, 2014

Greenville, S.C.--He was in, he was out and now he’s back in.

Executives at lab-grown diamond company Scio Diamond Technology Corp. confirmed during a conference call held Thursday that Gerald (Jerry) McGuire is back at the helm of the Greenville-based company, now as the permanent CEO and member of the company’s board of directors. 

A Form 8-K filed June 16 with the Securities and Exchange Commission named the 52-year-old McGuire, who most recently was an executive at power semiconductor company Fairchild Semiconductor, as interim CEO following the termination of Michael McMahon

Members of the company’s former board of directors who selected McGuire were ousted June 23 after a group of shareholders calling themselves “Save Scio” campaigned successfully for a leadership change at the unprofitable company. Forced out were Robert Linares, founder of Apollo Diamond, Scio’s predecessor; his son-in-law Edward Adams; and Theodorus Strous. 

McGuire was let go as well, only to be re-hired as CEO by the company’s current board of directors on July 11, an SEC filing made Thursday shows. 

On Thursday’s brief call, company executives did not answer many specific questions--including two about a joint venture in China--and McGuire said he believes the company can break even with six to nine months. 

He said the company’s near-term focus is to produce gem-quality lab-grown diamonds, noting that “We have established some relationships in this market.” He also said they aim to re-establish relationships in the industrial diamond market. 

In the long term, the company said it plans to increase the chamber size of its equipment, which will double its production capacity. 

Scio, which grows diamonds using the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process, has not had a shareholder meeting in several years, board Chairman Bernard McPheely acknowledged at the beginning of Thursday’s call.

McPheely said the purpose of the call was to provide shareholders with an update given the recent changes in management, though he noted there were a number of topics that could not be discussed in depth, such as information about the company’s settlement with its just-ousted board members that included agreements to end shareholder lawsuits against the company. 

He also said they could not comment on the company’s earnings but are working to finalize a 10-K for the period ended June 30.