PITTSBURGH, April 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- John T. Ryan III, who has served as chairman and CEO of global safety equipment manufacturer MSA (NYSE: MSA) since 1991, and Bill Lambert, MSA president and chief operating officer, will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, April 15. The ceremonial bell ringing comes approximately one month before Mr. Ryan will step down as CEO as part of a planned management succession, and turn over that responsibility to Mr. Lambert. The formal transition will occur on May 13 at the company's annual meeting of shareholders.
In March of last year, Mr. Ryan announced his intention to retire as an employee of the company and therefore as Chief Executive Officer in mid-2008, close to the time he reaches age 65. Mr. Ryan has noted that he plans to keep a deep interest in MSA and remain active as a director and shareholder.
"Since our founders, all of the CEOs of the company, who were fortunate to live to age 65, retired from this position at that time and likewise it seems sensible for me to do so also," Mr. Ryan said. "One of my particular satisfactions at this time is the breadth and skill of our management staff at MSA which we have built up over the recent decade and a half. Bill will have an excellent team with whom to work in the years ahead, both at the executive level and at all positions throughout this organization in the many countries in which we have operations."
Mr. Ryan's grandfather, John T. Ryan, co-founded MSA in 1914 and his father, John T. Ryan Jr., transformed the company into a truly world-wide organization as President and then Chairman of MSA from 1952 to 1990. Mr. Ryan Jr. also guided significant product line expansion efforts within the company that led to MSA's entry into many new markets the company continues to serve today.
Over John Ryan III's tenure as CEO, MSA has grown to a company with record sales of nearly $1 billion last year with more than 40 international locations. Most recently, he was recognized locally for his outstanding and life-long commitment to business ethics, as Mr. Ryan was named recipient of the first ever Excellence in Leadership Award presented by the University of Pittsburgh's David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership.
"Under John's dynamic leadership, MSA has grown tremendously over the past several years, developed a presence in new markets and became a respected New York Stock Exchange company that has delivered solid results for its shareholders," Mr. Lambert said. "Like his father and his grandfather before him, John has led MSA with integrity, passion and an unwavering commitment to protecting the health and safety of MSA customers. I am honored that John and the Board of Directors have expressed confidence in my ability to lead MSA and continue a mission the Ryan family and co-founder George Deike started in 1914."
Mr. Lambert joined MSA in 1981 as a Design Engineer where he developed and received a patent on the Quick-Fill breathing apparatus accessory, an important MSA product to this day. Over his 27-year career with MSA, he has served in a variety of capacities, including Product Line Manager for air-line respirators, Nuclear Industry Specialist, Project Engineer for self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) development, Director of Marketing for safety products, Vice President/General Manager of the company's former Safety Products Division, and President of MSA North America.
Established in 1914, MSA is a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of sophisticated safety products that protect people's health and safety. Sophisticated safety products typically integrate any combination of electronics, mechanical systems and advanced materials to protect users against hazardous or life-threatening situations. The company's comprehensive line of products is used by workers around the world in the fire service, homeland security, construction and other industries, as well as the military. Principal products include self-contained breathing apparatus, gas masks, gas detection instruments, head protection, respirators and thermal imaging cameras. The company also provides a broad range of consumer and contractor safety products through retail channels. These products are marketed and sold under the MSA Safety Works brand. MSA has annual sales of approximately $1 billion, manufacturing operations throughout the United States and Europe, and more than 40 international locations. Additional information is available on the company's Web site at http://www.msanet.com.