John Van Dine, the scientist who founded next-generation glass company Sage Electrochromics 25 years ago in New York, will step down on Oct. 15 as CEO of the Faribault, Minn., company that employs a growing workforce of nearly 170 people who make electronically tinted glass for commercial customers around the world.
Alan McLenaghan, a 15-year veteran of Saint-Gobain, the huge French glass-building-products company that acquired Sage in 2012, will succeed Van Dine as CEO. McLenaghan joined SAGE in July 2012 and has overseen the opening of the 320,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
Van Dine, 60, said Monday that he will continue to serve on the SAGE board, work on special projects and represent the company publicly under a three-year contract.
“I moved this company to Minnesota [in 1998] because of the high concentration of the window and glass industry here,” said Van Dine, who was wooed by other locales. “There were more-lucrative packages from other states. But Minnesota, the county and Faribault have been good to us. We had a good workforce. We stayed loyal to Minnesota.”
Van Dine, a private pilot who splits time between a small farm in New York state and a family home in Faribault, said he and his wife are focusing more on charitable efforts since he sold his stock to the French company.
The 2012 sale price of Sage, owned by Van Dine and more than two dozen institutional and individual investors, has never been disclosed. But Van Dine said Saint-Gobain has invested about $250 million in Minnesota operations — in addition to last year’s acquisition price.