Tuesday, December 22, 1998

Maui Divers’
CEO to retire

He's led the jewelry business
for 30 years

Star-Bulletin staff


Cliff Slater, known best as an opponent of the city's effort to build a rapid transit system, has told his employees at Maui Divers of Hawaii Ltd. that he will step down as chief executive on Jan. 1 as the first step to eventual retirement.

Day-to-day running of the jewelry business will be turned over to Robert Taylor, who has been company president since 1993. Slater will remain board chairman.

"For the next year, I will be working half time on some planning and strategy issues," Slater told his employees yesterday. "After that, I shall be around a lot less -- neither enough to get underfoot or be an irritant."

Slater, who turned 65 in June, added: "The time is right for me to make this change. It marks 50 years of full-time work for me, 30 years as CEO of Maui Divers and my recently qualifying for Social Security. I already have my senior citizen's bus pass."

"One of the advantages of no longer being CEO of one of Hawaii's top 250 companies is that it will allow me to be more outspoken about public policy matters. Accordingly, I will be writing more."

Slater's fight against rail transit could heat up soon. Although the fixed-guideway rapid transit system was killed by the City Council in 1992, the city administration is waiting for a consultant's report next month on an idea to develop a light-rail system from Aloha Stadium to the University of Hawaii.

Slater told the Star-Bulletin that he is about half-way through a book on urban transportation.

He told employees that Maui Divers has improved its market share in fine jewelry and will post a better fourth quarter this year than in 1997.

For the entire year of 1998, he expects Maui Divers to be slightly behind its 1997 sales but better in earnings. Maui Divers makes coral, gemstone and gold jewelry.

Taylor is a certified public accountant and holds a master's degree in business administration.

He first joined Maui Divers in 1972, then worked as chief financial officer for Tropical Rent-A-Car and Foremost Dairies-Hawaii.

He returned to Maui Divers in 1987 and later took over the marketing duties.

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