Just-Departed 3M CEO to Chair London Investment Firm

George Buckley-who will remain chairman of Maplewood-based 3M through the end of May-will become chairman of Arle Capital Partners Limited on June 1.

George Buckley retired just last week as president and CEO of Maplewood-based 3M Company-but he's already lined up his next gig.

London-based investment firm Arle Capital Partners Limited said Monday that Buckley will become its chairman. The appointment is effective June 1.

According to Arle, Buckley will join senior industrialists on its operational review board, which meets quarterly to review, challenge, and debate the performance and strategies of the firm's 12 portfolio companies. Buckley also will help to deliver the firm's investment strategy and will “contribute to deal origination through his extensive network of contacts and broad experience within Arle's core sectors of energy, industrials, and services,” the firm said.

“I am genuinely excited to be joining Arle at the start of what promises to be a fascinating new journey,” Buckley said in a news release. “Arle's investment approach with a clear geographic and sector focus, along with its collaborative and active approach to managing its portfolio, all play to my strengths.”

Buckley, who will remain chairman of 3M through the end of May, recently turned 65-the company's mandatory age for retirement. Inge Thulin, who has served as 3M's chief operating officer since last May, took the helm last week. Thulin's appointment followed about a year of speculation as to who would succeed Buckley, although Thulin's transition to the C-suite suggested to many that he was the heir apparent.

According to the Star Tribune, some analysts were anticipating that Buckley would quickly land a new position. “I suspect that George has been considering alternatives, possibly as a CEO or maybe a lead director at another company,” Mariann Montagne, an analyst and portfolio manager at Marks Group Wealth Management in Minnetonka, told the newspaper.

Buckley was only the second CEO in 3M's history to be recruited from outside the company, and he has served in board director positions at several other companies. He was also knighted by the Queen of England last year.

3M is Minnesota's fifth-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $29.6 billion in 2011, up 11.1 percent from the prior year.