The lights were on in the corner office at 3M's Maplewood headquarters Sunday, as incoming CEO Mike Roman and his three adult children moved the boxes and detritus of office life into his new command post.
"We have a tradition with my family, where they all come in and help me do that," said Roman, who in three decades with the company has worked across the United States, Europe and Asia. "It gives them a view of where Dad spends his time."
Roman, 58, takes over the $31 billion maker of such products as Post-it notes, industrial adhesives and safety products at a time of stability and expected growth.
After years of industrywide pressure stemming from an economic slump in China, instability in global oil and gas prices and a temporary dip in demand for electronic and industrial goods, the multinational manufacturer expects earnings-per-share growth of 11 to 15 percent this year.
Roman, who spent the last year as chief operating officer, said his focus now will center on continuing the momentum established by outgoing chief Inge Thulin. On Sunday, Thulin became executive chairman of the board, keeping him involved in long-term strategy in the newly created position.
"Our playbook is working," Roman said. "It's delivering value for our customers, it's delivering premium returns for our investors. My role as CEO is to build on that."
Matt Arnold, an analyst with Edward Jones, said he sees the transition as one that is less "revolutionary and more evolutionary."
Under Thulin, 3M focused on improving profitability by becoming more efficient, trimming nonessential businesses and acquiring big-name safety product companies with a history of fast growth. Thulin is credited with steering 3M through a global downturn and back to revenue growth and a healthy stock price.
"The heavy lifting is done," Arnold said. "My hunch is there'll be a heavy growth emphasis, whether that's built on acquisitions that fit the company's mission or other opportunities. To us, that's the next step."
There are inevitable uncertainties. Roman said he and other leaders are "closely monitoring" President Donald Trump's shifting trade policies and the potential for a U.S.-stoked trade war over tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Roman believes 3M's customers will feel the direct impact more than the company itself. With factories and operations in about 70 countries and products sold in 200 countries, 3M's international footprint will allow it to adjust to market disruptions or potential shifts in the supply chain as its customers seek less-expensive manufacturing inputs.
He said a "solid economic backdrop" for the year provides a measure of assurance.
"We still see opportunities very broadly across our businesses and across our geographies in the current economic climate," he said. "There are a lot of questions — top of mind around trade. We're watching that very closely."
Trained as an electrical engineer, Roman has held wide-ranging positions within 3M since landing his first job there in 1988 as a senior design engineer. He lived in Brussels, Belgium, with responsibilities for much of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He led 3M Korea, and worked as the company's chief strategist, helping to craft the current road map.
From 2014 to 2017, Roman ran 3M's industrial business group, its largest division, which accounts for one-third of global sales.
Thulin, 64, pegged Roman as his likely successor several years ago, and recommended him to the board "with never a doubt in my mind."
"He's thoughtful, very good at planning and very process-oriented — with a lot of focus on customers and our people," said Thulin, also a 3M veteran who met Roman in 2002. "He's the right man."
Both men profess to have similar leadership styles along with a shared vision, which they say will make for a smooth transition.
"The momentum is there for 3M," Thulin said. "We don't need a different type of leadership."
Roman's work as COO this past year gave him responsibility over the multinational giant's five business groups, providing a solid foundation that has helped groom him for the top spot.
"That year is an important evolution," said Thulin, who took the same path before being named CEO in 2012. "It's an important year to test if you have what it would take [to be CEO]. It's also a year of coaching from the CEO to prepare that individual."
Last June, the board waived 3M's mandatory retirement age of 65, giving Thulin the go-ahead to remain on the payroll past his November birthday. Rather than bow out completely, Thulin will help guide 3M's broader vision from his new office in Austin, Texas, where 3M has a large corporate campus.
Thulin, who was born in Malmo, Sweden, and has spent more than 38 years at 3M, said he welcomes the chance to maintain continuity at the top and to keep working with his successor.
"If I'd had the opportunity to have someone to talk to and test my ideas, I would have liked that very much," said Thulin, who immediately stepped into the chairman's role when he was named CEO.
Roman said he spent the past year of transition seeking coaching and counsel from experienced top leaders inside and outside of 3M.
"You do have to prepare for it," he said. "You're stepping into a role that is an enterprise-broad view and responsibility. It's very different even from leading a large business inside 3M."
Roman said he is "focused and confident" as he steps into the new role. In a podcast message scheduled to be broadcast companywide on Sunday, he said he hopes to convey his readiness to hit the ground running on Monday.
"I'm a 3Mer through and through," he said. "I love this company. I believe in this company, and I believe in our people. My leadership style starts with that premise."
Staff writer Dee DePass contributed to this story.