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Ewweb 6328 Jim James Ideal

James to Retire at Ideal Industries, Steve Henn to Join Company as CEO

Aug. 22, 2019
While at Ideal, James managed acquisitions such as CMD, Enatel and Cree Lighting.

Ideal Industries (Sycamore, IL):  Jim James, chairman and CEO, will retire on January 31, 2020. Steve Henn, a group president from Illinois Tool Works (ITW) will succeed him as CEO on Sept. 23, 2019.

As long planned, Meghan Juday, a fourth-generation family executive, will become chairman of the 103-year old family company on Feb. 1, 2020 when James retires. James announced his decision to the family and board of directors more than two years ago. “I believe that after 11 years or so, it’s time others get an opportunity to make their mark on the organization,” he said in the press release. “I want to thank Dave Juday (preceding chairman), Meghan Juday and the rest of the family for their trust, confidence and continual support over the years. I love the family. It has been an honor and privilege to work for them.”

“Steve Henn is a great fit for the organization,” said Chris Baldwin, chairman of Ideal’s succession committee, in the press release. “He’s consistently produced revenue and profit growth in dynamic, challenging and changing markets.”

Henn joins Ideal from Illinois Tool Works where he was group president, Industrial Equipment & Plastics, the largest platform within the $2 billion Specialty Products Segment. The platform has six divisions with more than 3,000 employees operating more than 30 facilities serving multiple markets in 15 countries. Prior to that, Henn built a roughly $600 million business and became group president of ITW’s Global Packaging Solutions Platform.

While at Ideal, James managed acquisitions such as CMD, Enatel and Cree Lighting. “This expanded our global footprint while also diversifying the business and accelerating the development and delivery of category changing innovations,” said Meghan Juday.  “Jim focused Ideal’s operating divisions on the end users of our products and services. He also drove the development and deployment of our digital transformation and emerging e-commerce capabilities to enhance relationships with our customers. His many accomplishments have us well positioned for the future,” continued Juday.

Juday stressed that Ideal will remain family owned. “We’re built for long-term success. We see things in generations not just quarters.”