- Push-out Score determined
- After about six years in the position
- Accolades and praise for Rajendra
- Rajendra will remain as executive chairman at A.O. Smith
- Rajendra spoke at length and said 86 words
(exechange) — Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 11, 2018 — Ajita Rajendra, chief executive of A.O. Smith, hands over the reins. It is a change at short notice. As announced by A.O. Smith Corporation in a news release on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, Ajita G. Rajendra leaves his post as chief executive officer at the maker of water heating equipment after about six years in the role, effective September 1, 2018.
Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.4 years, according to data compiled by exechange.
Rajendra’s duties will be taken over by Kevin J. Wheeler, currently president and chief operating officer of A.O. Smith Corporation.
“Well-thought-out and well-planned leadership transition”
Rajendra’s imminent departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Lead Director Gene C. Wulf said: “This has been a well-thought-out and well-planned leadership transition.”
Rajendra will remain as executive chairman at A.O. Smith
“Ajita G. Rajendra will transition from chairman and chief executive officer to executive chairman of the corporation, effective Sept. 1, at which time, Kevin J. Wheeler will assume the role of president and chief executive officer,” A.O. Smith said.
Share price rise since October 2011
The change follows a rise in the share price of A.O. Smith Corporation since October 2011.
In the position of CEO since 2013
Ajita G. Rajendra was named Chief Executive Officer of A.O. Smith Corporation on January 1, 2013, and Chairman in April 2014.
A.O. Smith is a $3.0 billion global water technology company. He is the ninth chief executive in the company’s 144-year history.
Prior to becoming CEO, he was President and Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the company’s water heater operations in North America, China, Europe, and India, as well as the company’s water purification business in China and the Lochinvar, LLC, global boiler business.
Rajendra was elected to the A.O. Smith Board of Directors in December 2011.
Rajendra joined A.O. Smith as President of its Water Products Company in January 2005 and was named an Executive Vice President of the Corporation in 2006.
Prior to joining A.O. Smith, he was Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Industrial Products Group of Kennametal Inc., Latrobe, Pa., a manufacturer of high precision cutting tools used in aerospace, automotive, and other industrial applications.
Rajendra began his career in 1978 with Corning Incorporated, Corning, N.Y., holding a wide range of financial, marketing and executive management positions, including President of the Revere Ware Corporation and global P&L responsibility for Corning’s Pyrex and Corning Ware businesses and Corning’s retail operations.
Rajendra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India and a MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. He also graduated from the AMP program at the Harvard Business School.
He was Chairman of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) from 2011-2012. He is also a director of Donaldson Company, Inc. (NYSE: DCI) and The Timken Company (NYSE: TKR), and a member of the Business Roundtable, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI), a member of the Board of Trustees of Alverno College in Milwaukee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.
Rajendra will continue to lead the company’s Board of Directors as the executive chairman and will remain involved in the company’s strategy development, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, and executive talent development for the Milwaukee-based water technology company.