Owens Illinois: CEO announces retirement

The long serving chairman and chief executive of Owens-Illinois Inc.(O-I), Joseph Lemieux, will retire at the end of the year, the company said 2 July 2003.
The company has hired Heidrick & Struggles…

The long serving chairman and chief executive of Owens-Illinois Inc.(O-I), Joseph Lemieux, will retire at the end of the year, the company said 2 July 2003. The company has hired Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive search firm, to find a successor. Current executives and outside candidates will be considered to replace Lemieux, 72. In a low-key style that became typical of the Toledo, Ohio-based glass giant under Lemieux, his retirement was announced in a brief statement released after 5 p.m. “The board of directors of Owens-Illinois, Inc. announced today that Joseph Lemieux … has advised them of his plans to retire effective 31 December 2003,” the firm said. There was no comment from Lemieux, but neither was there a sign that the retirement was forced. In a remark at the firm“s AGM in May 2003, Lemieux indicated that his retirement was fast approaching. Lemieux became chief executive in 1990 and chairman a year later. He supervised the company“s re-emergence as a public company in 1992 after it went private following a leveraged buyout by New York investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Under his leadership the Owens Illinois came through difficult times, including bankruptcy rumors and continued decline in use of glass bottles. Lemieux began his career at O-I in 1957 in the accounting and auditing section and before moving on to manufacturing. O-I is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2003. The firm has 34,000 employees and USD 5.6 billion in annual sales. It lost USD 460 million in 2002, most of which went to settle lawsuits filed by people who were made ill by exposure to asbestos insulation made by the company in the 1940s and 1950s. O-I is a leading supplier of bottles to brewers, food processors and pharmaceutical manufacturers.