Gregory Thaxton, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Nordson Corp., plans to retire in 2020 after 30 years with the Westlake, Ohio, company.
Nordson has launched an internal and external search for his successor. Thaxton will remain in his current role throughout the transition period.
Thaxton started his career with Nordson in 1989 as a financial analyst. He joined the executive leadership team in 2007 as the corporate controller and chief accounting officer. He was appointed to CFO in 2008.
Nordson announced Thaxton's retirement Dec. 12, ahead of its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings call with financial analysts.
"I want to thank Greg for his many contributions to Nordson," Sundaram Nagarajan, who replaced Michael Hilton as Nordson CEO on Aug. 1, said during the conference call.
Nagarajan said Thaxton's "passion for Nordson" is evident to everyone who interacts with him.
"During my tenure, Nordson has grown from $282 million in [sales] to $2.2 billion, expanded profitability and entered new end markets, geographies and applications," Thaxton said in a statement. "It has truly been a pleasure to participate in this great organization's success."
Nordson makes dispensing equipment for consumer and industrial adhesives, sealants and coatings. It also has a plastics segment called Adhesive Dispensing Systems, which includes Xaloy screws and barrels, EDI flat dies, BKG pelletizers and melt delivery systems.
Thaxton told analysts during the call that order trends and performance for the adhesives segment are indicative of "the resiliency of those end markets." And despite the ongoing macroeconomic challenges — including uncertainty that is impacting customers' investment decisions — that part of the business has "held up pretty well," he said.
Company sales for the fourth quarter were $585 million, up 3 percent compared with fourth-quarter sales a year ago. Operating profit for the quarter was $140 million, and net profit was $103 million.
For fiscal year 2019, ending Oct. 31, sales totaled $2.2 billion — a decrease of 3 percent compared with 2018. Full-year operating profit was $483 million, and net profit was $337 million.
For 2020, Nagarajan said the company is taking a "conservative approach" to the year's outlook, as he does not expect any significant improvements in the macroeconomic environment.
"In addition, we are not seeing an increase in order activity for our electronics end markets, so we are assuming a flat outlook for these product lines," he said. "The resilience of the other end markets we serve — notably consumer nondurables and medical — gives us confidence that we will achieve low single-digit organic sales growth in fiscal 2020."