Welbilt names new CEO

Bill Johnson is Welbilt’s new global head.

The board of catering equipment manufacturer Welbilt has elected William (‘Bill’) C. Johnson as president and CEO, effective 9 November.

The announcement follows the departure of previous incumbent Hubertus Mühlhäuser on 31 August. In the interim, the company appointed Josef Matosevic to manage the business.

Johnson is described as “a seasoned and proven leader”. He will assume day-to-day leadership of the company and will also join Welbilt’s board of directors.

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Cindy Egnotovich, chairperson of Welbilt’s board of directors, commented: “After conducting a thorough and comprehensive search, the board is confident that Bill’s over 30 years of experience in the commercial foodservice, industrial products and manufacturing sector are a great fit for Welbilt’s continued growth and the enhancement of shareholder value.

“He has led strategic M&A, driven operating and supply chain excellence, optimised capital structures, and delivered productivity and margin enhancements. Bill is a proven leader who brings the experience, vision and values to lead Welbilt into the future as we pursue our priorities for excellence and growth. We look forward to working with Bill as we execute on our strategic plan and write the next successful chapter for Welbilt.”

She added: “The board would like to express its sincere appreciation to Josef Matosevic for his leadership as interim CEO. As an integral member of the executive management team, Josef offered stability and continuity to Welbilt’s operations and customers, while ensuring the transition was managed both seamlessly and efficiently.”

Commenting on his appointment, Johnson stated: “I appreciate the board’s support and confidence, and welcome the opportunity to re-enter the commercial foodservice industry with a company that embodies a strong culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Welbilt’s impressive growth, iconic brands and commitment to developing best-in-class commercial foodservice products and solutions combined with the strong management team in place, were among the factors that attracted me to this position.”

He concluded: “As CEO, I will leverage the leadership and executive management experience built over my career, along with Welbilt’s portfolio of award-winning product brands, to maximise results for our customers, deliver profitable growth and create value for shareholders.

“There are tremendous opportunities to gain market share with our existing products and to bring other high-quality solutions and services to market, while remaining disciplined and focused. I am excited to begin working with the board, management team and the exceptional group of business unit leaders to fulfill Welbilt’s potential as the industry leader.”

Prior to joining Welbilt, Johnson was CEO of Chart Industries, a global manufacturer of equipment for the industrial gas, energy, and biomedical industries. He led the company’s operational and financial turn-around, including a series of strategic acquisitions and divestitures, business segment consolidations, capital structure improvements and efficiency enhancements, which resulted in significant top- and bottom-line financial growth and contributed to a three-fold appreciation in the company’s equity valuation during his tenure.

From 2006 to 2016, he held various senior level positions at Dover Corporation, a global conglomerate manufacturer of industrial products. In his most recent role, Johnson served as vice president of Dover Corporation and president and CEO of Dover Refrigeration and Food Equipment, where he was responsible for six operating companies generating $1.7bn in revenue and over $220m in earnings.

Prior to that he was president and CEO of Dover’s Hill Phoenix division, a designer and manufacturer of commercial refrigeration systems, and president and CEO of its Triton Systems division, a designer and manufacturer of ATMs.

Earlier in his career, he was president and CEO of Graham Corporation, a publicly traded manufacturer of oil refining, petrochemical and power equipment. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president of ESAB Welding and Cutting Equipment, a manufacturer of welding, cutting, and steel industry scarfing equipment.

From 1990 to 1999, he held various positions of increasing responsibility at ABB, a $35bn manufacturer of electrification, robotics and motion, industrial automation, and power grid products.

Johnson began his career as a commissioned officer and nuclear engineer in the United States Navy where he served from 1985 to 1990. He holds a B.S. in ceramic engineering from Alfred University and an M.B.A. from Rollins College.

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