Lennox International CEO Todd Bluedorn steps down after 15 years as head of CVC giant

Todd Bluedorn, President and CEO of Richardson-based Lennox International Inc., will step down in mid-2022 after 15 years at the helm of the company.

Bluedorn cited that he found a better work-life balance in his decision to leave the manufacturer of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The board of directors began their search for a successor.

“Todd Bluedorn has instilled a high performing and innovative culture with a strong team that has created tremendous value for our customers and shareholders,” Lennox International Senior Independent Director Todd Teske said in an announcement Wednesday. “His tenure at LII has been extraordinary. “

Under Bluedorn’s tutelage, Lennox International’s market capitalization has grown from $ 2.5 billion to $ 13 billion, and its shareholder return has exceeded 18% per year. For 2021, the company has raised its forecast for full-year revenue growth from 7% to 11% to reach 15%.

“With an exceptional leadership team, hard working and dedicated employees, key strategic investments in products, technology and distribution, and strong end markets, we are well positioned to continue our momentum into 2021 and beyond. “Bluedorn said in a statement.

The company’s revenue topped $ 3.6 billion last year, ranking it among the top 40 publicly traded companies in Dallas-Fort Worth. This is about a 5% drop from sales of $ 3.8 billion before the 2019 pandemic.

In June, Bluedorn met with analysts at Barclays who later wrote that he “seemed very confident about near-term demand conditions … and also that 2022+ would see solid growth.” They said Lennox was optimistic about meeting its profit margin targets this year, despite headwinds from cost inflation.

As the company’s revenue growth is expected to slow over the next year, analysts said “Lennox’s record over the past 10 years is reassuring.” Its income has grown steadily since 2010.

Lennox International has its roots in 1895, when founder Dave Lennox built the industry’s first steel rivet furnace in Marshalltown, Iowa. Lennox worked in the repair of railway machinery.

Bluedorn’s exit could be emblematic of a larger trend for CEOs to leave as companies put the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview mirror. The pandemic slowed down CEO departures last year, after the first three months when 441 CEOs left.

A recent report from recruiting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas shows that the trend could be reversed.

In the second quarter of this year, 336 CEOs left, a 51% increase from the 222 CEOs who left in the same quarter a year earlier. In June alone, 104 CEOs stepped down, an increase of 5% from May.

Consumer product manufacturing was among the top industries in CEO turnover. The industry has seen 26 CEO changes so far this year.

“Many employers are concerned about a talent brain drain, and that includes the highest levels,” Senior Vice President Andrew Challenger said in a statement.

In June, leading Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said he would become executive chairman and hand over the CEO role to Robert “Bob” Jordan effective February 1.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, on a test flight of one of the company's 737 Maxs in December 2020, will become executive chairman and hopes to stay in that role until at least 2026.
Robert Jordan, executive vice president of corporate services at Southwest Airlines, will succeed Gary Kelly as CEO in early 2022.

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