Written on: March 23, 2022 by SprayTM
WD-40 Co. announced that, as part of a planned leadership transition, Garry Ridge will retire as CEO of WD-40 Co. on August 31, 2022. Steve Brass, who has served as the Company’s President & COO since 2019, has been appointed to become Ridge’s successor, effective September 1, 2022. Brass has also been appointed to serve on the Company’s board of directors, effective March 15, 2022.
“I have worked with Steve for three decades and I am incredibly pleased that he will be the next chief executive officer of WD-40 Company,” Ridge stated. “Steve is a talented, collaborative leader with deep operational and global experience. His leadership, guidance, and support of our tribe throughout the pandemic have been nothing short of phenomenal. As we continue to grow our business worldwide and leverage our incredible culture, now is the right time for this transition. I feel extremely fortunate to hand the reins over to this clear and capable leader who will guide the Company in its next phase of growth,” remarked Ridge.
Brass held the role of Division President, Americas, and Chief Brand Officer before he was named President & COO in 2019. Brass joined the Company in 1991 and has held various management positions with the Company, including European commercial director of our office headquartered in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. In his role as President & COO, Brass has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Company’s three operating segments as well as the global coherency of its brand and digital strategies. He brings more than 30 years of leadership experience across global operations in marketing, sales, operations, and planning to his newest roles as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors.
“I’m humbled and excited to be asked to serve as the next CEO of WD-40 Company,” Brass said. “It’s a great honor to be able toserve this tribe and all our stakeholders. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Garry for his leadership in planning for this transition. He has set me up for success by ensuring I inherit a solid strategy for the Company and an excellent team of senior leaders, many of whom I have worked with for decades who will continue to guide the Company in its next phase of growth,” concluded Brass.
Ridge will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors until the Company’s annual meeting of stockholders on December 13, 2022, when his term expires. Thereafter, he will be bestowed with the honorary title of Chairman Emeritus. Ridge will continue to serve as a strategic advisor to the Company in a consulting capacity until June 30, 2023. The Board of Directors intends to nominate Gregory Sandfort, who currently serves as the Company’s lead Independent Director, to serve as Board Chair, as successor to Ridge.
“The board views succession planning as one of our most important mandates, and today’s announcement represents the culmination of a thoughtful and well-crafted succession planning process,” said Sandfort. “During his 35-year career with the Company, Garry was the chief architect of the WD-40 Company culture and pioneered the global expansion of the WD-40® Brand of products that are now available in over 176 countries and territories around the world. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Garry for tirelessly championing the Company, its brands and its people over the last three and a half decades. Garry’s strategic vision transformed the Company into an iconic brand recognized by millions of consumers. We owe him a great deal of gratitude for his commitment to the Company and its stakeholders and we appreciate his incredible contributions.”
“The board unanimously agreed that Steve’s promotion to CEO is well-deserved, and that he is the right person to lead WD-40 Company into its next chapter,” continued Sandfort. “Steve’s strategic vision, leadership skills, proven operational talent, and demonstrated commitment to the Company and its stakeholders, position the Company for continued success. We are excited to work more closely with him and his executive team to ensure a seamless transition.”
Ridge concluded, “It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve for these last 25 years as the leader of our amazing tribe of dedicated and passionate people who live our Company’s values every day. Culture is a true competitive advantage, and there are not many companies that have a better culture than the one present at WD-40 Company.”