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Longtime Airgas CEO and founder Peter McCausland will retire his position at the top of the gases and hardgoods distributor in August.
Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), Radnor, PA, announced that COO Michael L. Molinini will succeed him as president and CEO. McCausland will become the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.
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In his expanded role, Molinini will continue to lead the company's operations and information technology initiatives, while also assuming responsibility for finance and human resources. McCausland will continue to lead the development of Airgas' growth strategies. In addition, McCausland will continue to serve as chairman of the company's Management Committee and will retain responsibility for corporate development, risk management and governance.
"Mike and I have worked together for 15 years; he is a proven leader with an outstanding record of accomplishment both here at Airgas and in his previous roles," said McCausland. "I am confident that Mike is the right person to serve as Airgas' next CEO and that he will continue to build on our 30-year track record of operational excellence and shareholder value creation. Mike and I, together with our CFO Bob McLaughlin, will continue to be actively engaged with our shareholders and the rest of the investment community. As Airgas' founder and largest shareholder, I am committed to making sure that this plan is successful, and I am looking forward to working with Mike and the entire management team in the years ahead. As I always say, the best time at Airgas is now."
"I am honored and energized by the confidence that Peter and the rest of the Board have in me, and I look forward to enhancing Airgas' position as one of the premier industrial gas companies in the world," said Molinini. "Peter and I have worked successfully together for many years and I am pleased that he will stay actively involved in Airgas, continuing to contribute the vision and leadership that have helped make the company what it is today. I plan to continue his tradition of strong, active leadership and nurturing Airgas' entrepreneurial culture in pursuit of the tremendous opportunities ahead for Airgas."
McCausland founded Airgas in 1982, has been president and CEO since 1987, previously served as chairman of the Board from 1987 to September 2010, and was elected chairman again in August 2011. Before founding Airgas, McCausland served as General Counsel for MG Industries, Inc., an industrial gas producer. He also was a founding partner in the law firm of McCausland Keen & Buckman, where he focused on mergers, acquisitions and financings.
Prior to assuming his current position in January 2005, Molinini was Senior Vice President - Hardgoods, with company-wide responsibility for directing sales and marketing, procurement, and distribution center logistics. Molinini joined Airgas in April 1997 as Group Vice President of Airgas Direct Industrial and led the build out of Airgas' hardgoods supply chain, including development of the Radnor private label program. Prior to joining Airgas, Molinini served as Vice President - Marketing at National Welders Supply Company, an Airgas joint venture, where he managed all gases and hardgoods sales and marketing programs. Molinini joined National Welders after spending 19 years with the Linde Division of Union Carbide Corporation in a variety of operations, sales and management positions.
Watch MDM’s interview with McCausland earlier this year: