A CEO transition is underway at Hillenbrand Inc., the publicly traded Batesville, Ind.-based company with $2.5 billion in annual sales in fiscal 2020 from its molding technology, advanced process and death care business units.
President and CEO Joe A. Raver, 55, will retire at the end of the year after 27 years with the company, including the last eight at the helm of a transformative period. Sales shifted from what was essentially a $600 million-a-year casket company with 3,000 employees to a large industrial business with 11,000 employees.
Raver will be succeeded as CEO by Kimberly K. Ryan, 54, senior vice president and president of Coperion, a Hillenbrand portfolio business that manufactures compounding, extrusion and bulk material handling equipment.
Ryan was appointed executive vice president effective June 2 and will take over as CEO on Jan. 1, 2022, when she also joins the Hillenbrand Board of Directors.
"We're in a good spot for me to pass the reigns to Kim, who has had a tremendously successful career and did a fantastic job with our Coperion business," Raver said in a phone interview. "It's the right time for me to hand over the company, and she's the right person to take it forward."
Raver's and Ryan's paths have been crossing at Hillenbrand for decades, starting with the Batesville Casket Co., which is still a portfolio business, in the late 1980s.
Ryan credits Hillenbrand's management development programs for supporting her journey to the top executive position.
"I worked with so many talented individuals who helped me see what is possible before I could see it — Joe, honestly being one of them," Ryan said. "The mentorship in this organization helps people chase their dreams. It has been a fairytale for me to have it come to this after many people along the way encouraged me to take the chance because anything is possible."
As executive vice president, Ryan is now responsible for Hillenbrand portfolio businesses, including Mold-Masters and Milacron Injection Molding & Extrusion, in addition to Batesville and Coperion. The leaders of these businesses will report to Ryan, and she will oversee the development and execution of their strategies and plans to drive profitable growth.
The other members of the company's executive management team will continue to report to Raver during the transition.
Also, Ulrich Bartel, president of Coperion's polymer division, has been named Coperion president, and he joins the executive team effective immediately.
Ryan had been president of Coperion, which is Hillenbrand's largest business, since 2015. She is credited with building a strong management team as well as driving sales growth of 30 percent to about $1 billion in 2020 and more than 500 basis points of improved margin of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Hillenbrand bought Coperion Capital GmbH in October 2012, paying $530 million for the equipment manufacturer serving the plastics, chemical, food processing, pharmaceutical and aluminum industries.
Ryan recalls the deal.
"Joe was the lead executive who built the case for the Coperion acquisition," she said. "Then, I had the opportunity to come in and lead the team when he became Hillenbrand CEO."