In what certainly is the most significant management changeover of the year, Nordson today named Michael Hilton as its new CEO, replacing the retiring Ed Campbell.
Hill is 55, and comes from Air Products and Chemicals, where he was senior vice president and general manager in charge of the $2 billion global Electronics and Performance Materials segment. He has a chemical engineering degree, which means Nordson will remain in the hands of an engineer (Campbell has a bachelor’s in EE).
A conglomerate in the mold of Dover and ITW, Nordson topped $1 billion in revenues for the first time a year ago. (It slipped to $819 million this year as the recession took its toll.) It has been extraordinarily well managed, growing both organically and by acquisition, but unlike some competitors it has never overreached. Its electronics brands include EFD, Asymtek, Dage, YesTech and March.
Campbell remains chairman until February, when he will be succeeded by current director Joseph Keithley, the head of Keithley Instruments. He has spent 21 years career at Nordson, the last 12 as chief executive. He is perhaps not as well-known as some of his contemporaries in electronics manufacturing, but his track record is unparalleled. Hilton’s new house is full of his predecessor’s successes.