Leadership Changes at Top Process Automation Companies

Following last fall’s announcement of John Berra’s stepping back from day-to-day management at Emerson Process Management, surprising changes begin the new year at Honeywell Process Solutions and Invensys Process Systems.

2009 begins with three of the large process automation suppliers finding new people at the helm.

The new year started with an announcement from Invensys Process Systems (www.ips.invensys.com) that Paulett Eberhart, president and chief executive officer, has left the company, evidently as of Jan. 8. Further, Honeywell announced on Jan. 9 that Jack Bolick has retired as president of Honeywell Process Solutions (www.honeywell.com/ps). These developments come on the heels of the announcement last October that Steve Sonnenberg had replaced John Berra at Emerson Process Management (www.emersonprocess.com) as chief executive officer (although Berra is staying on in a new role).

No permanent replacement was named for Eberhart. In a release to the press, Invensys Chief Executive Officer and IPS Acting President and CEO Ulf Henriksson said, “I would like to thank Paulett for her efforts over the past two years and wish her every success in the future. The company is in good shape to deal with the current global economic uncertainties and our strong financial position allows us to continue to invest in the business to position it as a leader in helping clients improve their business efficiency. We remain committed to our business strategy and will cement our position as a premier technology solutions provider. I look forward to working with the IPS team as we accelerate our implementation of this strategy and increase the value we can bring to our clients.”

Eberhart had begun a process of moving IPS from a reliance on process control products to one focused on services and consulting. She had just completed a move of the IPS corporate headquarters from Foxboro, Mass., to the Dallas area, as well as a significant reorganization of the marketing area. The company did show growth in 2008, albeit not as much as many of its rivals.

International experience

In its Jan. 9 press release, Honeywell announced the appointment of Norman “Norm” Gilsdorf as president of Honeywell Process Solutions, based in Phoenix. Gilsdorf was formerly vice president and general manager of the Process Solutions business in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He replaces Bolick, who retired from Honeywell after 10 years of service, including six years as president of Honeywell Process Solutions.

“The Process Solutions business has grown significantly the last few years and is well-positioned as a strong global competitor in the important vertical markets it serves,” said Roger Fradin, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions. “Norm’s background, capabilities, and proven track record as a senior leader make him a perfect fit to lead the business forward.”

At UOP, Des Plaines, Ill., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., Gilsdorf was the senior vice president and general manager of the Process Technology and Equipment business, which serves the refining, petrochemical and gas processing industries. Before that appointment, he was responsible for UOP’s Catalysts, Adsorbents and Specialties business unit, and prior to that held various technical services, research and development, business development and marketing and sales roles. He joined UOP in 1977.

Gilsdorf has considerable global business experience. In addition to his role leading the Process Solutions business in EMEA, Gilsdorf spent five years working for UOP in the United Kingdom in various roles, where he served as director of sales and services across Europe, Middle East, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), India and Africa for the petrochemical industries. He also spent seven years in Moscow as director of sales and services for the CIS region, where he and his team helped launch UOP into Russia in the1990s.

Gilsdorf holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind., and a Master of Business Administration degree in international business and finance from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill.

Emerson Process Management

Honeywell Process Solutions

Invensys Process Systems

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