Douglas H. Poretz, the chief spokesman for NVR L.P., the struggling McLean-based home builder, has left the company to strike out on his own, although he will continue to handle the company's corporate relations.
Poretz, 45, who had been NVR's vice president for shareholder affairs since 1986, is forming his own corporate relations company, Douglas Poretz Ltd.
His first client, and so far his only one, is NVR L.P.
"He certainly has done a great job for us," said Schar, who said he still talks to Poretz two to three times a day.
While noting that Poretz's departure represents an "economy" for NVR, Schar said that Poretz "has done a good job of getting us up to speed in terms of internal and external communications."
The sometimes-acerbic Poretz is no stranger to turmoil. He joined Flow General Inc., now called GRC International Inc., in 1981 as director of corporate communications. The first week he was there, five senior executives of the company's largest subsidiary were indicted for conspiring to use fraud to obtain a Department of Defense contract.
The company continued to struggle with financial problems and management changes for several years. In the less than four years he was there Poretz reported to three different chief executives.
At Planning Research Corp., now known as PRC Inc. and based in McLean, he was director of corporate affairs when the company was sold to Emhart Corp. in 1986.
Poretz joined NVR in late 1986, just after the fast-rising home builder went public. Those were heady years. NVHomes, as it was known then, acquired the much-larger Ryan Homes, and Poretz helped coordinate a public offering of equity and bonds worth $230 million that funded the deal.
Within three months NVHomes's stock rose to more than $20 a share, adjusted for a split, from $5 a share. The company became one of the nation's largest home builders and the dominant builder in the booming Washington area.
The past year hasn't been kind to NVR, however, and the struggling company is in the midst of a restructuring, retreating from the land development business and pulling out of markets.
Poretz, who was regarded by people within the company as one of Chairman Dwight C. Schar's "inner circle" of top management, said he wasn't laid off. He will continue to function as NVR's spokesman and coordinate the company's communications with its investors, vendors and employees. "What you communicate to vendors and employees at a time like this is crucial," he said.
Poretz said he sees business opportunities in these rocky economic times that are forcing many companies, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to make major strategic shifts. Those shifts need to be explained to investors, employees, customers, vendors and lenders in an understandable, coherent fashion.
"I don't think I want to ever position myself as trying to make a difficult story or difficult situation less than what it is ... but you want to create some degree of understanding of how the company is trying to solve its problems."