Officers

 
 

Ajita Rajendra 

Ajita G. Rajendra
President, and Chief Executive Officer

Ajita Rajendra was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of A. O. Smith Corporation on April 8, 2014, the ninth CEO in the company's history. His primary responsibilities include strategy development and implementation, profitability, and shareholder returns. He also held the positions of President and Chief Executive Officer and President and Chief Operating Officer, responsible for A. O. Smith’s water heater operations in North America, China, Europe, and India as well as the company’s water purification business in China and the Lochinvar global boiler business.

Ajita joined A. O. Smith as President of Water Products Company in January 2005 and was named an Executive Vice President of the Corporation in 2006. Prior to joining A. O. Smith, he was Senior Vice President of the Industrial Products Group of Kennametal Inc., Latrobe, Pa., a manufacturer of cutting tools used in aerospace, automotive, and other industrial applications.

Ajita began his career in 1976 with Corning Incorporated, Corning, N.Y., holding a wide range of financial and executive management positions including Director of the company's Retail Operations, Business Director of the Corning Cookware division, and President of the Revere Ware Corporation.

Ajita earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India, and an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. Ajita is a director of Donaldson Company Inc., a member of the Board of Trustees of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) Alverno College in Milwaukee, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

 

Randy Bednar 

Randall S. Bednar
Senior Vice President
Chief Information Officer

Randy has been the company's chief information officer since 2001. His role is to utilize information technology to enhance business performance, to establish and support e-business capabilities, and to coordinate IT operations.

From 1996 until 2000, he was Vice President and Chief Information Officer of The Gates Corporation, Denver, Colo. In that position, he was responsible for the strategic and tactical direction for information technology including applications, voice/data networks, infrastructure, and architecture. Before that he held a series of information technology assignments during 15 years with Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee, Wis. He was named Director of Information Technology in 1994 and also held the positions of Manager-Application Systems, Manager-Information Technology, and Manager-Data Processing (European Region).

Randy graduated summa cum laude in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from Carthage College, Kenosha, Wis. He received an MBA from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1988. He served in the U. S. Army from 1971 until 1973.  

 

Brouwer

Dr. Wilfried Brouwer
Senior Vice President - Asia
and President of A. O. Smith (China) Investment Company Ltd. 

 

Dr. Wilfried Brouwer joined A. O. Smith in March 2009 and was named Senior Vice President-Asia and President of A. O. Smith (China) Investment Co., Ltd. on June 1.  He is responsible for the strategic direction of the company’s business operations in Asia including five wholly owned manufacturing operations and one joint venture in China and a new water heater business in India.  In addition, Wilfried also oversees business development activities throughout Asia. 

 

Wilfried joined A. O. Smith from Akzo Nobel, a multinational manufacturer of paints, coatings, and specialty chemicals with headquarters in Amsterdam.  He held a number of positions during his 24 years with Akzo Nobel including 12 years working in China and Asia.  From 2005 until 2008, he was vice president of Akzo Nobel’s Decorative Coatings Asia Pacific business unit, where he had full profit and loss responsibility for the unit which includes six manufacturing plants throughout Asia.   Most recently, Wilfried served as executive project leader for Ningbo Projects.

               

Wilfried earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in chemistry from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.  He received a PhD in chemistry from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands in 1984.  In 1995, he received an MBA degree from Pace University, New York, N.Y.  

 

Heideman  


Robert J. Heideman
Senior Vice President - Corporate Technology
A. O. Smith Corporation

Bob was named Senior Vice President-Corporate Technology A. O. Smith in December 2010.  He had served as Vice President of the Milwaukee-based research and engineering facility since February 2008.  The Corporate Technology Center consists of technology platforms that concentrate on advanced concepts and emerging technologies supporting the long-term product development strategies of the company’s electric motor and water heating operating units.

Bob joined A. O. Smith Corporation in 1994 as a Project Engineer at Corporate Technology.  In that role, he worked on a wide range of projects for a number of the company's operating units.

He returned to A. O. Smith in 2002 as a Section Manager, responsible for the Metallurgy and Prototyping Group.  In 2005, he was promoted to Director-Materials and Processes at Corporate Technology.

Bob holds a bachelor's degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master's degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.  He is currently working towards obtaining a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin.

 

 D. Kempken

Daniel L. Kempken
Vice President and Controller

Dan joined A. O. Smith in June 2011.  He is responsible for the accounting, financial planning, internal audit, and risk management functions.

Most recently, Dan was a senior manager with Ernst & Young LLP’s Milwaukee office.  He served a number of Wisconsin-based companies, handling audit, quarterly review, and control testing activities.  During this time, he assisted several of his clients with domestic and international acquisition accounting.

Dan also held the positions of senior manager with Ernst & Young’s Chicago office and manager in the Frankfurt, Germany, office.  He joined Ernst & Young in 1995.

From 2003 until 2006, he was a partner with Kempken Real Estate, a family business focused on residential real estate and condominium development.

Dan earned a bachelor’s of business administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995 and is a certified public accountant. 

 

John Kita

John J. Kita
Executive Vice President
Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, John is responsible for all financial functions of the company including treasury, controllership, cash management, and investor relations.  He was named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the company on May 1, 2011.

John originally joined A. O. Smith as Assistant Treasurer in 1988 and was elected Vice President, Treasurer & Controller in 1996.  He was named a Senior Vice President in 2006.

He worked seven years for RTE Corporation in Waukesha, Wisc., a manufacturer of electrical equipment.

John received a bachelor's degree in accounting and mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Wisconsin.  

 

Mark Petrarca 

Mark A. Petrarca
Senior Vice President
Human Resources and Public Affairs

Mark became Senior Vice President of Human Resources & Public Affairs in 2005. He is responsible for all domestic and international human resources activities including policy and strategy development, employment, compensation, employee relations, performance management, organizational development, and succession planning. He also manages the company's public affairs function which includes internal and external communications, and community relations; he also serves as the company's official spokesman.

Mark joined A. O. Smith in June 1999 as Vice President-Human Resources for its Water Products Company, responsible for all human resources activities for the operating unit. He also was involved in the 2000 acquisition of State Industries and played a major role in integrating that business into the Water Products Company.

Prior to joining A. O. Smith, Mark worked as Director of Human Resources for Strike Weapon Systems, a division of Raytheon Systems Company, in Lewisville, Texas. He began his career in 1985 at Texas Instruments in its Defense Systems and Electronics Group in Dallas, Texas, holding positions in manufacturing and human resources.

Mark holds a bachelor of science degree in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, Peoria, Ill., and a master's degree in management and administrative sciences from the University of Texas-Dallas (Richardson).

 

Charles Lauber 

Charles T. Lauber
Senior Vice President
Strategy and Corporate Development

As Senior Vice President-Strategy and Corporate Development, Chuck is responsible for partnering with the executive team to identify and define corporate strategic initiatives globally as well as overseeing the company’s merger, acquisition, divestiture, and joint venture activities.

Chuck joined A. O. Smith as Corporate Director of Tax and Audit in December 1999. He was named Vice President and Controller of the former Electrical Products Company division in 2001 and was named Vice President - Global Finance for Electrical Products in 2004. In 2006, he was promoted to Senior Vice President and Group Chief Financial Officer for the Water Products Company division.

Chuck was named to the newly created position of Senior Vice President-Strategy and Planning in January 2013 and assumed his current position in March 2014.

Before joining A. O. Smith, he held a number of auditing and management positions with Ernst & Young from 1984 to 1999. Chuck earned Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

 

James Stern

James F. Stern
Executive Vice President
General Counsel, and Secretary

Jim joined A. O. Smith Corporation as executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary on June 1, 2007. He is responsible for overseeing the corporation's legal function as well as corporate organization and by-laws, governance and compliance, securities law, and government relations.

Jim joins the company after 15 years with Foley & Lardner LLP of Milwaukee where he was a partner, providing legal services and advice for a wide range of public and private companies. As a member of Foley & Lardner, he was named to the Best Lawyers in America 2007 ® list in the field of mergers and acquisitions law.

Prior to joining Foley & Lardner, Jim was an associate with Latham & Watkins LLP of Chicago, Ill., from 1989 until 1992. He also served as a law clerk under Pasco M.Bowman, II, senior judge for the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Kansas City, Mo.

He serves on the board of the Fleck Foundation, a Milwaukee-based charitable organization that focuses on inner city schools and transitional housing, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, an all-girl Catholic school, and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.