August 20, 2019 – Jim James, Chairman and CEO of IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. has announced he will retire on January 31, 2020. Steve Henn, a Group President from Illinois Tool Works (ITW) will succeed Jim as CEO on September 23, 2019. As long planned, Meghan Juday, a fourth generation family executive, will become the Chairman of the 103-year old family company on February 1, 2020 when James retires.
James announced his decision to the family and Board of Directors over two years ago. “I believe that after 11 years or so, it’s time others get an opportunity to make their mark on the organization,” said James. “I want to thank Dave Juday (preceding Chairman), Meghan Juday and the rest of the family for their trust, confidence and continual support over the years. I love the family. It has been an honor and privilege to work for them. They’ve made me feel like family.”
The New CEO
“Steve Henn is a great fit for the organization,” said Chris Baldwin, Chairman of the Succession Committee. “He’s consistently produced revenue and profit growth in dynamic, challenging and changing markets.”
Henn joins IDEAL from Illinois Tool Works where he was Group President, Industrial Equipment & Plastics, the largest Platform within the $2.0B Specialty Products Segment. The Platform comprised 6 Divisions with more than 3,000 employees operating more than 30 facilities serving multiple markets in 15 countries. Prior to that Steve built a roughly $600 million business and became Group President of ITW’s Global Packaging Solutions Platform.
His experience running a diversified global business serving a multitude of industries has prepared him to lead a company like IDEAL. Baldwin noted that Henn also brings the company proven expertise in global management, acquisitions and integrations, innovation, high performance team development, and manufacturing.
IDEAL Poised for Sustained Growth, Innovation and Expansion
“All of us are going to miss Jim’s vision, brilliance and energy,” said Meghan Juday. “Over these last 11 years, Jim has transformed the company.” She noted IDEAL has grown substantially under his direction, not just getting larger as a company, but also becoming a more sophisticated company. “He is a friend and mentor as well as a visionary business partner.”
Juday shared the family and Board of Directors’ appreciation for James’ many accomplishments. He reinforced IDEAL’s strong financial position along with the company’s culture and founding principles. He supported the family’s initiative to maintain perpetual ownership of the company, and side by side with the family, worked to accomplish this important milestone for the family and the business. He set the foundation for platform-changing acquisitions such as CMD, Enatel and Cree Lighting.
“This expanded our global footprint while also diversifying the business and accelerating the development and delivery of category changing innovations. Jim focused IDEAL’s operating divisions on the end users of our products and services. He also drove the development and deployment of our digital transformation and emerging e-commerce capabilities to enhance relationships with our customers. His many accomplishments have us well positioned for the future,” continued Juday.
“We'll miss Jim, but fortunately he has strengthened IDEAL and our businesses are set for continued success and growth.”
Family Stewardship at IDEAL
Juday stressed that IDEAL INDUSTRIES will remain family owned. “We’re built for long-term success. We see things in generations not just quarters.” She explained the company will continue to invest in training and development, innovation and in acquiring companies that “complement our core businesses and provide us significant positions in growing global markets.”