Worthington Industries completes board of directors transition

October 10, 2023 By    

John Blystone, Worthington Industries’ long-time lead independent director, has been named executive chairman, the company’s board of directors announced.

Blystone’s appointment completes a planned succession with executive chairman John P. McConnell, who will now retire.

“I am proud of all we have accomplished since I joined Worthington nearly 50 years ago,” says McConnell, who retired as the company’s CEO in September 2020. “I look forward to remaining a meaningful, long-term shareholder of both Worthington Enterprises and Worthington Steel, and watching the continued success of both companies. John [Blystone] has done an excellent job as lead director the past 16 years. I know the board is in good hands, and it will be a seamless transition with him in the role as executive chairman.”

The company announced in September 2022 its “Worthington 2024” plan to separate its steel processing business and create two, stand-alone, publicly traded companies by 2024, Worthington Enterprises and Worthington Steel.

“John [McConnell] has done a fantastic job leading Worthington Industries and the board. I’m honored to follow him in service as executive chairman at this exciting time for our company,” Blystone says. “We have a committed board, strong leadership and a dedicated team at Worthington, and I look forward to continuing to work together to drive value for shareholders and support the success of Worthington 2024.”

In January 2023, John H. McConnell II joined the Worthington Industries board. He is expected to serve on the board of both companies after the planned separation.

Blystone, 70, has served as a director of Worthington Industries since 1997 and as the lead independent director since January 2007. Blystone is general partner of Blystone Capital Partners. He served as chairman of the board, president and CEO of SPX Corp., a global provider of technical products and systems, industrial products and services, flow technology, cooling technologies and services and service solutions, from December 1995 to December 2004, when he retired. From 1991 to 1995, Blystone served in various managerial and operating roles with General Electric Co. and served as chairman of the board of Freedom Group Inc. from August 2010 to March 2012.

McConnell, 69, began his career at Worthington in 1975 as a general laborer, later working in sales and operations with increasing responsibility. He was instrumental in administering the company’s employee-focused policies as head of personnel, including its focus on health and wellness that featured the opening of an on-site fitness center in 1985 and on-site medical center and pharmacy for employees and their families in 1994.

McConnell was named CEO in 1993, and in 1996 succeeded his father as chairman of the board. As CEO, McConnell streamlined Worthington’s focus on steel-related businesses, expanded its global footprint and enhanced its joint venture strategy, significantly growing profitability, according to the company. Perhaps McConnell’s greatest achievement is a transformation plan, implemented in 2007, that positioned Worthington to emerge from the Great Recession with expanded market share and profitability, the company adds. In McConnell’s last 10 years as CEO, Worthington expanded its business by completing 20 acquisitions.

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About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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