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Longtime industry executive Sid Dunofsky dies at 79

Published July 13, 2016

PALM DESERT, Calif. (BRAIN) — Sid Dunofsky, a longtime bicycle industry executive and mergers and acquisition consultant, has passed away after suffering a heart attack.

Dunofsky, 79, was taken to Eisenhower Hospital in nearby Rancho Mirage where he later died. A private service was held June 27 in Cathedral City. Dunofsky was well known in the industry and had been a regular attendee at Interbike, visiting the show for the last time in 2014 when he announced his retirement.

Despite an early lack of experience in the bicycle industry, Dunofsky was involved in several major mergers and acquisitions.

Prior to joining the industry, Dunofsky had worked for a major cosmetic company in Europe for a number of years, but wanted to return to the U.S. Medalist Industries recruited him in 1985 to manage sales at West Coast Cycle Supply where he quickly became its new president. At the time, WCCS, best known for its Nishiki brand, had sales of about $45 million, a significant business at the time.

However, Medalist, a small conglomerate of companies mostly in the sporting goods sector, found that a bicycle distributor dealing with small IBDs was a poor fit and asked Dunofsky to sell it.

Dunofsky engineered West Coast's sale to Derby International in September 1988. Derby also acquired Raleigh America from Huffy at the same time. The combined deal was worth about $50 million. Dunofsky was named president of the combined operations.

Alan Goldsmith, who knew Dunofsky well and who had worked with him briefly, recalled that Dunofsky was never a cyclist, but he was a professional businessman and a tough taskmaster.

He came from a business where he had been dealing with small retailers and distribution, so it wasn't that much different from the bike business, Goldsmith said.

"He was tough, but he brought a level of professionalism to the bike industry that we typically hadn't seen," Goldsmith said.

Dunofsky and his wife, Michthilde, a doctor of psychology, were often at various industry events over the years, Goldsmith added. Many who first met Dunofsky immediately thought of him as an Italian "godfather" because of his dark complexion and his tough guy demeanor.

"He would always wear a fine Italian suit and he looked tough. When he was young man he had been a boxer so he had this tough build, but he was really just a Jewish kid from the Bronx," Goldsmith said.

Dunofsky later went on to broker the sale of Lawee Inc., owned by Ben Lawee, to Raleigh in 1996, and he helped arrange the sale of the Vetta to a private equity company. Acumen, Inc. owns the Vetta brand.

Dunofsky was also well known internationally. He negotiated other bicycle company deals in the U.S., Mexico and Europe and consulted with several companies including Haro Designs and SQ-Labs.

Goldsmith said that Dunofsky had a heart bypass operation in the 1980s but had been in good health all these years, often playing tennis several times a week.

Topics associated with this article: People

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