Jan 9, 2020
Acuity Brands announced that Neil M. Ashe will become its next President and Chief Executive Officer effective January 31, 2020. Additionally, the Board of Directors appointed Mr. Ashe as a member of the Board effective January 31, 2020. Mr. Ashe, 52, will take over the CEO position from Vernon J. Nagel, who will remain with the Company in the newly created role of Executive Chairman. Mr. Ashe will also become the President of Acuity Brands replacing Richard K. Reece, who will become Executive Vice President of the Company and President of Acuity Brands Lighting, the primary operating subsidiary of the Company. The appointment of Mr. Ashe as President and CEO of Acuity Brands culminates an orderly succession plan for certain senior leadership positions which began almost a year ago.
Mr. Nagel commented, “On behalf of the Board, we are extremely excited to have attracted a leader with the skill and experience of Neil to lead our great company in the next chapter of its evolution. While our succession plan anticipated me as CEO for a longer period, we accelerated our timetable to attract Neil as our next leader. His background and success in leading technology-oriented organizations is an ideal fit for Acuity Brands as we continue our journey to be an industrial technology leader. We have a tremendous company with great associates and market-leading solutions with a very strong financial profile that will provide Neil and the team the ability to create strategies that I believe will meaningfully enhance value for our key stakeholders. Neil brings a strong and successful entrepreneurial background to Acuity, including President & CEO of Global eCommerce & Technology at Walmart, Inc., President of CBS Interactive and CEO of CNET Networks, Inc. In each of these roles Neil and his teams created significant shareholder value.”
Mr. Ashe commented, “I’m honored to be the next CEO of Acuity Brands and I’m pleased to partner with and succeed Vern. I’ve had the pleasure of leading transformations at some of the most important internet, media and commerce companies. What they all have in common is a commitment to customers, an ability and willingness to innovate and change, and a dynamic and talented group of associates who are passionate about building great businesses.
Ashe continued, “Acuity Brands is a company with a strong strategic, operating and financial foundation. I’m excited to partner with the talented associates of Acuity to take the Company forward and to build an even more exciting and dynamic company on this foundation.”
Mr. Nagel concluded, “It has been a privilege and an honor for me to lead the great associates of Acuity Brands for the last 15 years. We successfully navigated one of the greatest technology transformations faced by any industry with the advent of digital lighting, and over that time period more than doubled our sales, tripled our operating margins, became the clear industry leader, and saw an eight-fold increase in shareholder value. Today our platform is strong, and we see exciting new opportunities in the years to come. With Neil’s leadership skills and background, Acuity Brands in uniquely positioned to exploit these opportunities.”