Industry News

Seymour Midwest Announces Promotion of Bob Vitoux to President & CEO Role

Seymour Midwest, a family owned global supplier to the specialty hand tools market, is pleased to announce the promotion of Bob Vitoux to the role of President and Chief Executive Officer. Vitoux joined Seymour Midwest in 2016 as the Chief Operating Officer and will take over for Bill Henthorn who will move into a Board role after twenty years with the company and having been in the role Vitoux will assume.

During Vitoux’s first year, he led the Company’s Executive Leadership Team and personally engaged in activities focused on Teamwork and Communication to strengthen the organizational alignment across the Company’s five operating locations while also overseeing several significant customer facing initiatives.  These initiatives included a complete visual rebranding of the Company’s brands and a significant market pricing undertaking, as well as two significant new product development initiatives: first, a new partnership for striking tools and second, licensing the IP for a ground breaking new product innovation that is positioned to expand the Company’s already high market share in the epoxy coatings market. “This first year has been a whirlwind of activity for everyone inside the business, but I’m thrilled with the foundation we’ve been able to build as a Team both internally and externally for 2018 and beyond – we’ve set the stage to continue to expand our business over the coming years through our relentless pursuit of customer focused initiatives” said Vitoux. “As an Executive Leadership Team we aspire to accomplish three things in all customer interactions: first, we seek to Delight the Customer, second to Outperform our Competition through both our products, but also through our service and third, prove that The Difference is Real by finding ways internally and externally to Change the Landscape in all we do” said Vitoux. “Bob and his Team’s customer first approach and focus on organizational alignment have led to a series of crucial wins in 2017 – these continue to build momentum across the organization and in the market place” said Henthorn.

Vitoux leads an Executive Leadership Team with deep subject matter expertise in their cross-functional areas “In a business of our size, we’re extremely fortunate to have an Executive Leadership Team with the sheer breadth and depth of experience,” said Bill Henthorn/Chuck Yeager, Chairman of the Board. “Bob and his team have a passion for winning and see great opportunities to take our business and brands to the next level” said Henthorn/Yeager. 

During Henthorn’s tenure, the Company evolved from a small, single-site manufacturer serving the specialty tool and epoxy floor coating markets to a multi-site business with an accumulation of notable brands that call Seymour Midwest home and serve numerous industries and vertical markets that rely on long handled tools. Henthorn oversaw the expansion of the business through organic growth and targeted acquisitions including irrigation tool manufacturer Kenyon in 2005, Toolite, a patented sifting shovel product line in 2007, Northstar, a lawn and garden manufacturer of long handled tools in 2008, and Pendry Coatings, a specialty powder coating facility in 2016. The most significant acquisition, and the one that led to the Company renaming itself from Midwest Rake to Seymour Midwest, was the 2012 acquisition of the 145-year old toolmaker Seymour Manufacturing – a specialty long handled tool company based in Seymour, Indiana with three additional facilities in Tennessee. The Tennessee locations manufacture the market leading hickory replacement handles that are sold worldwide under the Link Handles brand.

Through these acquisitions initiated by Henthorn, the Company’s footprint and team member headcount grew exponentially resulting in a world headquarters in Warsaw, Indiana on a 60-acre campus that includes manufacturing and the Company’s primary distribution center, the Seymour, Indiana manufacturing facility, and three additional manufacturing facilities in Tennessee. All told, Seymour Midwest employs a workforce of over three hundred team members across the Company’s five locations. “Bill has done a remarkable job assembling key brands and products that both diversify the Company as well as make us a significant player in multiple vertical markets,” said Vitoux.

Vitoux’s career includes public accounting, automotive, and orthopedic experience as well as serving in General Management and as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Steinway Musical Instruments. During his orthopedic career, Vitoux managed increasingly larger teams at Zimmer, DePuy and Biomet culminating with his role as Vice President of Commercial Operations at Biomet. Vitoux managed sales administration, all U.S. contracts/pricing and customer operations. He also has served in various division Controller roles and spent 18-months based in Scotland as the Global Operations Finance Director for LifeScan – Johnson & Johnson’s diabetes business. Vitoux’s career also includes managing HR, IT, and procurement as Division CFO for SPX-Power Team and he was the Controller and Director of Sales for Dalton Corporation of Warsaw, Indiana.

A graduate of Manchester College, Vitoux and his wife of 30 years, Debbie, reside in Winona Lake, Indiana and have two children, Austin and Ashlyn. Vitoux currently serves as Vice Chairman for the Board of Trustees of Grace College and is active in the Warsaw/Winona Lake community and his church. 

The Seymour Midwest Board of Directors remains comprised of Chuck Yeager, serving as Chairman of the Board, Bill Henthorn, and Randy Swanson who are all also equity owners in the business.

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