Barry Pennypacker has stepped down as chief executive of US crane group Manitowoc effective immediately. He is replaced by the current executive vice president of cranes Aaron Ravenscroft. Pennypacker also gives up his seat on the board but will remain in an advisory role until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.
Ravenscroft joined Manitowoc in March 2016 from the Weir Group where he was regional managing director of its American materials business. He had also worked with Pennypacker at Gardner Denver a few years before that. Shortly after he joined Manitowoc he took over the ‘Mobile Cranes' business – which included Grove telescopics and Manitowoc lattice crawlers, as a result of the company deciding to separate the tower and mobile crane operations – with Larry Weyers taking on the Potain business - see: Manitowoc splits towers and mobiles. The following year Weyers left the business and the two divisions were reunited under Ravenscroft as executive vice president of cranes - see: Weyers leaves Manitowoc.
Chairman Kenneth Krueger said: “With his mix of skills, experience, and knowledge of the company, the board is confident that Aaron is the right person to not only continue to lead Manitowoc through this unprecedented global crisis, but toward a global market recovery and a new phase of growth and development. He is a firm believer in The Manitowoc Way, and has a deep appreciation for our mission and culture. The Board and I look forward to working closely with Aaron and the entire management team to continue delivering for customers, while effectively positioning the company for future success and value creation.”
“On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank Barry for his service to Manitowoc, and his passion for its potential. Under his stewardship, the Company has expanded the breadth of its product portfolio, significantly enhanced its profitability, and solidified a foundation for compelling growth over the long term. Succession planning has always been a top priority for our board of directors, and we look forward to an orderly leadership transition. We are grateful for Barry’s continuing guidance during this period and wish him the very best in his future endeavours.”
Ravenscroft added: “Manitowoc has established itself as a global manufacturing leader of cranes and lifting solutions, and it is an honour to assume the role of CEO during this important time in its history. We have the financial flexibility to continue to weather this difficult period, and at the same time, we are taking the steps necessary to ensure we can achieve further margin expansion and profitability as global markets recover. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our experienced leadership team, board, and all of our team members to advance our strategic priorities, create a stronger company for our customers and employees, and deliver long-term value for our shareholders.”
Pennypacker said: “It has been a privilege to lead Manitowoc for the past five years, and especially during the past several months, when our remarkable employees continued to deliver parts and services to our customers in a time of essential need. I am incredibly proud of what our team has achieved together, including recommitting to the ‘Voice of the Customer’ and strategically positioning the company for long term growth. Aaron and I have worked closely together for over 17 years across several companies, and I share the board’s confidence in him. I look forward to providing the necessary support for him during the transition, and am confident that under Aaron’s leadership, Manitowoc will continue to navigate the current operating environment well and emerge even stronger.”
There will be many who will be speculating on the sudden change at the top but it would seem inappropriate for us to add our views as this news is breaking. A good many Manitowoc end customers and crane owners have been angered by Manitowoc instigating the national security investigation into crane imports and its call for tariffs or quotas to be applied. There has been no suggestion whatsoever that this has anything to do with the change at the top. The company will shortly release its half year results and host its quarterly conference call tomorrow, which might shed a little more light on the subject. But I doubt it.
Aaron Ravenscroft is a highly capable individual with a great deal of experience, under his leadership there have been a number of positive initiatives, both in product and services. There is still much to be done, but he appears to be a good choice at this time, and anyway this was not the time to be bringing in an outsider or to put anyone else in the hot seat.
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