VIPAR Heavy Duty Chairman Bill Nolan has announced that the organization successfully completed its leadership succession plan with the board of directors naming Chris Baer as its new CEO, effective immediately. Baer adds the CEO duties to his responsibilities as president of VIPAR Heavy Duty, a position he assumed in late October 2016.
Baer succeeds Steve Crowley, who retained his role as CEO during a transition period. After serving more than 16 years as the organization’s president and CEO, Crowley has now officially retired.
“The board adopted a strategic succession plan nearly three years ago to ensure the long-term success of the organization,” said Nolan. “By building upon the talent and experience of our existing leaders we were able to execute the transition while continuing to invest in the development of our team. Assuming the role of CEO was a natural progression for Chris, who has proven to have the experience and vision necessary to succeed in the ever-changing aftermarket and to strategically position VIPAR Heavy Duty and its family of companies for growth both now and into the future.”
In January, Baer introduced a new management structure and new leadership roles to help the company achieve its aggressive growth goals.
“I appreciate the board’s confidence in my leadership and the talented individuals that support our organization on a daily basis,” said Baer. “As we kickoff ‘G3,’ the third phase in our history, our entire team will play a valuable role as we work to accomplish the initiatives detailed in our ‘Game Plan for Growth.’ Top on our list of priorities is to improve on our execution, which will help increase our speed to market.”
Before joining VIPAR Heavy Duty in 2002, Baer was with Chicago Rawhide/SKF for 17 years in a variety of sales management roles, including his last role as director of automotive sales. Baer has served as a member of the AWDA Young Executive Society (YES) committee and earned the Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) designation from the University of the Aftermarket. He is a 2014 recipient of the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education award, and currently serves on the board for NEXUS North America, LLC, as vice president.