James Owens, chief executive of specialty chemical manufacturer H.B. Fuller, will retire Dec. 4 after leading the St. Paul-based company for 12 years.
"It has been a privilege to serve as CEO of H.B. Fuller, and I am very proud of all that we have accomplished as a team," Owens said in a news release. "With a proven value-creation strategy, experienced leadership team in place and positive momentum, this is the opportune time to transition the company's leadership."
Under Owens' leadership, the company's stock has had a total return of 242%. Annual revenue has more than doubled to $3.3 billion, and net income was a record $161.4 million in the fiscal year ended Nov. 27, 2021.
Celeste Mastin, the company's current executive vice president and chief operating officer, will succeed Owens. She joined the company March 7 after 30 years working in manufacturing and distribution companies, most recently as CEO of PetroChoice Lubrication Solutions, based in King of Prussia, Penn.
Mastin, 54, will also become a director of H.B. Fuller, and Owens, who was 57 when the company's last proxy was filed in February, will retire from his board position.
"Celeste is an outstanding leader and ideal fit with H.B. Fuller's entrepreneurial, customer-focused, global culture," Owens said.
The company said the moves were part of a multi-year succession plan and that Owens would stay through the end of the year to help with the CEO transition.
Lee Mitau, chairman of H.B. Fuller's board, thanked Owens for his leadership of H.B. Fuller. "Under Jim's leadership, the company has tripled in both revenue and market value as the company shifted its portfolio towards more highly specified, higher growth market segments, such as electronics, solar and electric vehicles," Mitau said in the release.
The company issued the release and filed the news with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the markets closed Monday. Shares of H.B. Fuller closed at $59.75 on Tuesday, down 1% on the day. Over the past 52 weeks, shares were down more than 25%, in line with the S&P Composite 1500 Chemicals index.