The president and COO of pump and valve maker Pentair Ltd. announced Monday that he will retire by the end of the year, marking the highest-level management change since Pentair's merger with Tyco Flow Control a year ago.
Michael Schrock, 60, a former Honeywell manager who joined Pentair in 1998, went on to lead five divisions before being named company president and chief operating officer in 2006. His role as president and COO "will not be replaced," officials said.
In a statement, Schrock noted that his announcement coincides with the anniversary of when Golden Valley-based Pentair merged with Swiss-based Tyco Flow Control to become Pentair Ltd. The $4.5 billion deal closed at the end of September 2012. The merger instantly doubled Pentair's size and gave it a business that broadened its offering in flow controls and industrial water processing.
In a statement, Schrock said, "I am proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure. It has been a privilege to have worked with such a talented organization. With the one-year anniversary of the Tyco Flow Control merger, it is the right time to make this transition."
CEO Randall Hogan hailed Schrock's work at the company, which is now officially based in Switzerland, but managed out of Golden Valley.
"Mike has made a significant contribution to Pentair and his service is deeply appreciated," Hogan said. "Pentair is fortunate to have had Mike's leadership as we built a global company with leading operations and a strong growth road map."
Several investors echoed Hogan's sentiments.
Mark Henneman, executive vice president of the Mairs and Power investment firm in St. Paul, has been a longtime investor in Pentair and a fan of Schrock's.
"We were thrilled with the work he has done there since he took over as COO and president," Henneman said. "The operational performance has been excellent and we think he has been a big part of that. He implemented lean operating management. He was a believer in it. So we are certainly sorry to see him go."
Company officials said they do not expect to replace Schrock as president or chief operating officer. Spokeswoman Marybeth Thorsgaard declined to comment about the decision.
Tapping an executive to become president or COO often signals to investors that the individual is among a small circle of executives being groomed to replace the CEO. Failing to tap a replacement for Schrock raises questions, some analysts and investors said.
"It is a little bit unusual to have a firm that big not to have [a president]," Henneman said. "But it is not concerning. [CEO Randy Hogan] may just not be ready to elevate someone to that point. It seems reasonable that [he] could do that later."
Pentair's stock dropped 40 cents to $65.99 Monday.