Donaldson Co. Inc. promoted its current chief operating officer to chief executive and president, the company announced Friday.
Tod Carpenter will succeed Bill Cook, who has led the Bloomington-based maker of engine filters and mufflers since 2005. Cook, 61, will stay on as chairman of the board as Carpenter steps into his new role April 1.
“I am especially grateful for the trust Bill and our board of directors is placing in me to assume this position,” said Carpenter, 55, who joined the company in 1996.
Carpenter held several management positions at Donaldson, including general manager of gas turbine systems and vice president of industrial filtration. In 2011, he was promoted from vice president of Europe and the Middle East to senior vice president of engine products.
By February 2014, Carpenter was promoted to chief operating officer and joined the board of directors — a move that strongly suggested Carpenter was Cook’s heir apparent.
This was “a traditional succession process, instead of some fire drill exercise,” said Matt Arnold, an analyst at Edward Jones.
Under Cook, Donaldson’s annual revenue rose to $2.5 billion from $1.6 billion in 2005. The company has a global workforce of 12,700 employees. Cook said Carpenter’s experience with the company will ensure that Donaldson will continue to grow.
“Tod has demonstrated a passion for our business, a strong customer orientation and a keen focus on delivering financial results,” Cook said.
Carpenter takes the helm at a time when Donaldson is adjusting to slumping demand in the U.S. for agricultural equipment, for which it supplies parts, and weakness in Asia’s construction and mining sectors.
Donaldson officials said agricultural equipment sales could plunge 25 to 35 percent this year because U.S. and European farmers are grappling with low crop prices and might decide to dial back future orders for the tractors and other machines for which Donaldson makes filters. Company officials now expect sales growth for the year to be 1.5 percent.
Donaldson’s stock has been trading recently around $37 a share, near its 52-week low.
Arnold at Edward Jones said Donaldson struggles are directly connected to its “end market” customers. “This is a business cycle when there are a lot of end markets that are shaky and uneven and temporarily weighing on [Donaldson’s] results,” he said.
Donaldson is spending $90 million to $100 million in fiscal 2015 on key plant, distribution and equipment upgrades. It is building a plant in Poland; opening distribution centers in Peru and Slovakia and investing in new products and technologies, and adding staff in developing countries.
“So they are not making missteps,” Arnold said. “They are navigating challenges.”
Carpenter grew up in Gary, Ind., graduated with a manufacturing technology degree from Indiana State University and later earned his MBA from Long Beach State University in California. Before joining Donaldson, Carpenter worked at Hughes Aircraft Co. and York & Associates.