Brunswick Corp. has announced that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Schwabero will retire at the end of 2018, and will be succeeded by David Foulkes, president - Brunswick Marine Consumer Solutions and Chief Technology Officer.
The company also announced that Manny Fernandez, Brunswick's lead independent director, will become non-executive chairman, upon Schwabero's retirement.
Fernandez was formerly chairman and chief executive officer of the Gartner Group, executive chairman of SYSCO Corporation and several technology companies.
Schwabero joined Brunswick in 2004 as president - Mercury Outboards. In 2008, he became president - Mercury Marine, and was appointed Brunswick's president and chief operating officer in 2014.
Since becoming chairman and CEO in 2016, Schwabero charted an ambitious course for Brunswick, completing several value-enhancing acquisitions, including the recent addition of Power Products.
Under his leadership, Brunswick initiated the process of separating its Fitness business, which the Company is working to complete by the end of the first quarter of 2019 or as promptly thereafter as practicable within a time frame that maximizes value to its shareholders.
"Under Mark's leadership, Brunswick has continued to improve its operating results and strong track record of revenue and earnings growth," Fernandez said. "Mark has been instrumental in setting the strategy and transitioning the Company to solely focus on the marine industry, particularly on the technologies that will continue to advance the industry, make boating more enjoyable, and also refining our portfolio to make it more cycle resistant."
"The 14 years I've been with Brunswick have been the most rewarding of my career," Schwabero said. "Each day I am inspired by Brunswick's 15,000 motivated and dedicated employees around the world. It has been a privilege to serve as chairman and CEO for the past three years, and to lead this world-class organization."
Schwabero added: "I am pleased that David will be succeeding me as CEO. He is a bright and talented leader whose energy is infectious. His intellect, skills and commitment are representative of the qualities you will find within our deep bench of talent at Brunswick. With the separation of Fitness underway and the focus on our future in the marine business, now is the ideal time to make this change."
"With his proven leadership ability, a strong technology focus and rich experience, David is the ideal next CEO for Brunswick, and will ensure our marine operations continue to lead the industry," Fernandez said. "With David at the helm, Brunswick will remain in good hands as we sharpen our focus on integrated propulsion systems and boats and prepare to operate as a pure-play marine company."
Foulkes is presently responsible for the Brunswick Boat Group as president - Brunswick Marine Consumer Solutions as well as Brunswick's CTO. He joined Brunswick in 2007, and for 10 years was head of product development at Mercury Marine, where he led the development of Mercury's award-winning line-up of market-leading outboard engines, including the recently introduced V6 and V8 outboard engines and advanced vessel control systems.
Since 2012, Foulkes has had responsibility for Mercury Racing, and worked closely with its leadership team to significantly grow the business and introduce a range of new high-performance products.
As CTO, Foulkes has overseen the launch and development of NAUTIC-ON and Brunswick's iJET Innovation Lab at the University of Illinois.
He also championed establishment of Brunswick's joint-venture with TechNexus to develop a portfolio of investments in start-up companies. Foulkes was named to his present position earlier this year.
"David's successful track-record of developing exciting and innovative products speaks for itself," Fernandez said. "His deep understanding of technology, commitment to quality, and experience introducing innovative business solutions will continue to fuel and ignite creativity throughout the organization. In his role as CTO, and most recently as president - Brunswick Marine Consumer Solutions, he has quickly put in place a broad range of capabilities that will enable Brunswick to further accelerate its progress in developing new products and solutions for our marine customers."
"I am honored to become CEO of this great company," said Foulkes. "Going forward, we will take advantage of the strong momentum that we have achieved under Mark's leadership and continue to grow our industry-leading portfolio of marine engines and boat brands offering leading-edge design, technology, quality and customer service. Our focus will be relentless, as we seek out innovative, technology-enabled consumer services and solutions that make boating easier, while continuing to demand excellence in executing our marine strategies as we build shareholder value."
Foulkes will also replace Schwabero as a member of Brunswick's Board of Directors, effective Jan. 1, 2019, and will serve for the remainder of Schwabero's term until the Company's 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.