Fortune Magazine names CEO Rajendra to their Businessperson of the Year list


Ajita RajendraMilwaukee, Wis. — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of A. O. Smith Corporation, Ajita Rajendra, was recently named in Fortune Magazine’s 2016 Businessperson of the Year list. Rajendra was number 34 on the list of 50 CEOs. 

In order to select who ultimately gets placed on the list of the top 50 CEOs, Fortune Magazine looks at how CEOs are influencing business and whether they take bold, visionary steps.  They also parse and rank companies by 12- and 36-month increases in profits, revenues, and stock performance, and factor in return on capital and debt.    

“It’s a great honor to be named in Fortune Magazine’s 2016 Businessperson of the Year list alongside CEOs from Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft among other iconic companies. The hard work and dedication of all A. O. Smith employees, along with our focus on values and our customers have had a direct impact on our steady growth in the past few years and this award appropriately recognizes all A. O. Smith employees worldwide for that commitment,” said Rajendra. 

The ninth CEO in the company's history, Rajendra was named CEO of A. O. Smith Corporation on Jan. 1, 2013. 

Under Rajendra’s leadership, the company’s profitable growth contributed to a five-year cumulative total stock return of 427 percent as of Nov. 30, 2016, and consistent record sales and earnings. 

Rajendra was instrumental in driving several acquisitions; most notably the purchase of leading manufacturer of high-efficiency boilers and water heating equipment, Lochinvar in 2011, and just recently the purchase of water purification company, Aquasana in August 2016.  In addition, Rajendra also helped introduce water treatment to the India market in 2010. 

Rajendra received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, where he was recognized with its Distinguished Alumnus award in 2015. Rajendra also earned an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School. 

Rajendra joined A. O. Smith in 2005 as president of its Water Products Company and was named an executive vice president of the corporation in 2006. In 2011, Rajendra was elected to the A. O. Smith board of directors and was named president and chief operating officer.