Whirlpool appoints CEO
Whirlpool Corporation has named a new CEO, and its previous CEO will remain chair of the board.
The Benton Harbor-based appliance maker said yesterday it elected Marc Bitzer, the company’s current president and COO, to succeed Jeff Fettig as CEO, effective Oct. 1.
Fettig has served as chairman and CEO since 2004. Bitzer was named president and COO and elected to the board in 2015.
“On behalf of the Whirlpool Board of Directors, we are very pleased to appoint Marc as our next CEO, the eighth CEO in our 106-year history,” Fettig said.
“Marc has a deep understanding of our business throughout the world and has personally led our operations and delivered strong results during his 18-year tenure at Whirlpool.”
Fettig said his role as board chair going forward will be to support Bitzer and the leadership team.
“I am effectively stepping away from our day-to-day management after 36 years of service and the last 13 as CEO,” Fettig said. “As a company, we have achieved significant milestones during this time through the great work of Whirlpool people throughout the world.
“I know Marc and our Whirlpool leadership team will continue to achieve great things for our company in the years ahead.”
Bitzer said he’s grateful for the vote of confidence.
“I want to thank the Whirlpool board of directors and especially Jeff Fettig for their confidence in appointing me to this position,” Bitzer said. “The foundation of success built by Jeff and so many within this company affords us an exciting future.”
Previously, Bitzer served as Whirlpool vice chair, which included leadership of Whirlpool North America and Whirlpool Europe, Middle East and Africa.
He joined Whirlpool Europe in 1999 as VP of the Bauknecht brand group. He became SVP of marketing sales and services for Whirlpool Europe in 2000 and was named president of Whirlpool Europe in 2006.
Between 2009 and 2013, Bitzer served as president of Whirlpool North America and president of the company’s U.S. operations.
Before joining Whirlpool Europe, he worked for eight years at the Boston Consulting Group in Munich and Toronto and was named VP of that organization in 1999.
Bitzer earned his M.B.A. and doctoral degrees from the St. Gallen Graduate School of Business, Economics and Law in Switzerland.
Whirlpool credits Fettig with the growth of the company, organically and through acquisitions, which increased sales by 75 percent, from $12 billion in 2003 to $21 billion in 2016.
The company’s acquisition of Maytag Corporation in 2006 and Indesit Co. SpA in 2014 added the Jenn-Air, Maytag, Amana and Indesit brands, creating a portfolio that targets more than 90 percent of global consumers with seven brands garnering more than $1 billion in annual sales.
Whirlpool’s market value during Fettig’s tenure increased from $5 billion to more than $14 billion, and the company’s annual dividend increased from $1.36 per share to $4.40 per share.
Whirlpool is the world’s No. 1 appliance manufacturer, with about $21 billion in annual sales, 93,000 employees and 70 manufacturing and technology research centers in 2016.
The company markets Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, Jenn-Air, Indesit and other brand names in almost every country.