At the start of April, Thomas Handley will no longer be the president and chief operating officer of Ecolab, a St. Paul-based company which last year sold more than $14.6 billion in water, hygiene and energy technology products and services. Instead, after nearly seven years on the job, Handley will be leaving to lead Ecolab’s upstream business as it begins the process of transitioning into a stand-alone publicly-traded company.
Handley intends to retire altogether at a later point this year, Ecolab said on Monday.
“Tom has been a simply outstanding leader in advancing Ecolab’s strategy, execution, talent and culture,” says Ecolab CEO and chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. “His contributions have been an important part of our success and will have lasting impact. We are pleased that Tom will continue to lead our work on such a strategically important initiative for our company.”
Ecolab in early February announced its intention to spin off its upstream energy business, a unit of the company responsible for $2.4 billion in sales in 2018. The business has two main components: one is an oil field chemicals production arm, while the other is a drilling and well completion chemistry arm.
The spin-off of Ecolab’s upstream business is expected to close by mid-2020.
Replacing Handley effective April 1 will be Christophe Beck. The new president and chief operating officer of Ecolab originally joined in 2007 after serving as a senior executive at Nestlé for 16 years. Currently, Beck is Ecolab’s executive vice president and president of its Global Industrial Group.
“Christophe has demonstrated strong leadership and success throughout his career at Ecolab,” says Baker, praising Beck’s energy, innovation and other contributions. “We are confident he will lead the overall business with the same passion, commitment and results focus as he has in each of his prior responsibilities.”
Apart from its plans to spin off a business unit, Ecolab also acquired two businesses in the last four months.
Last December, it purchased U.K.-based hygiene and cleaning products supplier Holchem Group Limited, and in February it acquired Geneva, Switzerland-based training solutions company Lobster Ink.