Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Retired RadioShack chief sees bright tech future as company struggles

John Roach, former Tandy Corp and RadioShack CEO talks about his experiences to a group of Fort Worth business people during an IdeaWorks FW event at the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center south of downtown.
John Roach, former Tandy Corp and RadioShack CEO talks about his experiences to a group of Fort Worth business people during an IdeaWorks FW event at the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center south of downtown. Special to the Star-Telegram

Fort Worth retail legend John Roach, who ushered RadioShack into the computer age as a top executive at Tandy Corp., thinks nanotechology will create the next revolution to make things go faster and higher.

“When you’re dealing with technology, there’s never been a better time or a worse time than today,” the retired executive told a couple dozen budding entrepreneurs at IdeaWorksFW’s first session in its Great Ideas speaker series last week.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a driverless car before too long, or a full health monitor that takes everything about you virtually. They’ll be able to shoot glue in your arm to mend broken bones together, and make ships and planes go faster,” he said. “There must be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people out there trying to do these types of things I’m talking about. Competition is great.”

IdeaWorksFW is a year-old incubator set up to help emerging businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s in the Guinn complex at Interstate 35W and Rosedale Street, near the Business Assistance Center and Tech Fort Worth.

Sprinkling his speech with touches of humor, Roach reminisced about his time at the helm of Tandy and RadioShack Corp. and working for legendary Fort Worth businessman Charles Tandy, who he said didn’t have a high opinion of computers.

Roach joined Tandy in 1957 in data processing. He eventually became head of manufacturing and served as chief executive from 1983 to 1999, when he retired.

It is “sad and unfortunate” that the company is now bankrupt and being sold off to creditors, Roach said. He declined to elaborate on the company’s troubles, saying he hasn’t been involved with it in years.

“It’s sad for the whole team,” he said of the thousands who were employed when he was in charge. “We had a lot of pride.”

Roach was asked about how to recruit the best talent, how to be competitive and how to deal with failure.

“Every idea is not going to be a great idea. Failure’s going to happen,” he said. “We had products that failed. We had ideas that failed. We had store changes that failed. You just have to keep going, learn from your mistakes and do it better the next time.”

Roach said he is enjoying his retirement and has done a little investing.

“Fortunately I put my money in oil and gas instead of RadioShack stock,” he joked.

Quicksilver seeks to end Darden deal

It comes as no surprise that Quicksilver Resources, which filed for bankruptcy this month, is asking a court to allow it to shed contracts it finds “unnecessary” or “burdensome.”

What might be shocking is that one contract involves a pricey deal with Toby Darden, former chairman of the board and brother of Glenn Darden, chief executive officer.

Toby left Quicksilver in December 2013, but a separation agreement has him consulting the company on its Horn River Basin project in Canada — which was not included in the bankruptcy filing — for at least $690,000 a year: $45,000 a month plus $12,500 a month for expenses.

And the largesse didn’t end there. Toby is also eligible for a $2.5 million bonus under certain circumstances. The deal was to run until Dec. 31, 2016.

Rahr just fooling around on Facebook

Rahr & Sons, Fort Worth’s wildly popular craft brewery, decided to play an early April Fool’s Day joke on its unsuspecting fans Friday morning.

The brewery posted on its Facebook page that it will host a final Tour & Tasting at the brewery, 701 Galveston Ave., on Wednesday before shutting down in a few weeks.

Within an hour, some 300 fans had posted comments such as “It almost made me cry,” “I nearly had a heart attack” and “I just died a little inside.” But some also noticed the date — April 1 — and got the joke.

Owner Fritz Rahr said his heart was pounding when the post went online, the work of employee Jeff Wood, whom he described as their “goofy guy.” His blood pressure dropped back to normal within a few minutes when Facebook comments started pointing out the date.

Rahr said the brewery will have a commemorative going-out-of-business pint glass at the event, but it won’t be the last. He said the business is doing just fine and expects to increase production by 20 percent this year to 22,000 barrels.

Six Flags CEO paid $8.3 million in 2014

Jim Reid-Anderson, chairman, president and CEO of Six Flags Entertainment, received compensation worth $8.3 million for 2014, according to the company’s annual proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

The compensation included a $1.2 million base salary, $5.3 million in stock and options awards, a $1.6 million bonus and $129,720 that covers the company match to his 401(k) account, a $12,000 car allowance and a $15,000 legal allowance.

The parent of Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor in Arlington reported a profit of $76 million last year, down from $118.5 million in 2013.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773

Twitter: @stevekasko