Bill Galuhn, executive director and co-founder of Carecraft Inc., is no longer heading the Anaheim, Calif.-based buying group. The circumstances of his departure are in question.

Carecraft’s board of directors said it dismissed Galuhn on Sept. 8, at the start of the group’s annual board meeting. Galuhn, meanwhile, says he tendered his resignation early that morning, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

Galuhn provided a copy of his resignation letter, faxed at 6 a.m. on Sept. 8 to the Grand Hyatt Denver, where the board meeting was held.

The board released a statement regarding the events, reprinted here in its entirety: “As a result of an ongoing audit, the board of directors reached a decision to terminate Mr. Galuhn. At the current moment, the board has placed Greg Howard in the position of CEO/CFO.”

Galuhn released a statement in response to the board, printed below. It has been edited for space considerations.

“For more than 20 years, I performed to the best of my ability to build Carecraft from literally its inception to where it is today.

“I announced more than a year ago to the board of directors my retirement intentions. … We hired someone to work toward becoming a replacement for me. Over the course of the last couple of years, friction between the two of us has developed to the point where I was not as satisfied with the arrangement. …

“In 2002, I budgeted for an audit, and the board voted it down. Then, this year, in the height of the buying season … the board decided to … do a complete audit. …

“The audit disrupted our daily business. ... That frustration, along with internal friction, caused me to rethink my retirement plans and to tender my resignation.”

The Carecraft board declined to respond further to Galuhn’s statement.

Howard, who was formerly vice president at Carecraft, has been with the organization three years. Prior to joining Carecraft, he was president of Polaris Pool Systems.

“The board of directors has extreme confidence in Mr. Howard’s ability to bring us through this time of transition. He has our full support,” said Bruce Bagin, a partner at B&B Pool & Spa Center in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., and past chair of the Carecraft board. “The board and the past chairs feel that Carecraft will be a stronger organization in the future, and we are very focused on the future viability and success of Carecraft.”

Carecraft members also believe the organization will continue to thrive.

“Bill was the heart and soul of the organization since day one,” noted Brian Quint, president of Aqua Quip, a longtime Carecraft member firm based in Seattle and a Pool & Spa News Top Builder. “Fortunately, we have a great team in place and a great leader in Greg and a strong member list. We’ve got the components of success to move forward.”

Galuhn co-founded Carecraft in 1986. Today, the organization has 102 members.

Manufacturers who have worked with Carecraft indicate that operational changes are unlikely at this point. They will know more in the coming weeks.

“I have always admired and respected [Bill’s] leadership,” said Jeff Fausett, president/CEO of Aquatech Corp., a competing buying group in Costa Mesa, Calif. “We respect them and think highly of the group. We wish them well.”