Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) announced Jan. 16 that its Chief Executive Officer, Tom Tiller, expects to step down from his position by the end of 2008 when his current employment contract expires. Tiller, 46, has been with the company since July, 1998 and its CEO since May, 1999.
Tiller explained his decision as a personal one. “After considerable thought and extensive discussions with the Board of Directors, I felt 2008 was the right time to leave. When I came to Polaris from GE, I expected to lead the company for a considerable period, and 2008 marks my tenth year here. I absolutely love our company, our products, and our people, and I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish together. This past year was another good one for us in a tough environment, and I expect 2008 to be good as well. We have a very solid and experienced team, and I am confident in our ability to win well into the future. Our company is in good shape so it seems like the right time. Polaris is a company that is built on innovation. And a fresh set of eyes every decade or so is a good thing.”
Tiller is expected to remain on the Polaris Board of Directors for a transitional period after a successor is named.
The Board of Directors, led by its chairman Greg Palen, is directing the search for Tiller’s successor and will evaluate both internal and external candidates.
As CEO, Tiller led Polaris to become a more diverse and global company. Net sales grew from $1.1 billion in 1998 to nearly $1.8 billion today and the Company expanded its International business outside of North America from 6 percent of total Company sales in 1998 to approximately 14 percent of Company sales today. The market capitalization of Polaris also grew from approximately $1.0 billion in 1998 to nearly $1.7 billion at the end of 2007.