Kitterman grants AFG hiatus after abrupt change

June 21, 2006
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, AUTO
In a seemingly sudden transition May 16, Brad Kitterman, 47, replaced John Litzinger as president and chief executive officer of AFG Industries Inc. in Kingsport, Tenn., promising to hold the line on changes for three months while honing a strategic plan.

A 28-year AFG veteran, Litzinger served in that role since 2003, a time when the Japanese parent Asahi Glass Co. was embracing the slogan “Shrink to Grow.” Under his watch, in 2005, “AFG restructured as part of a plan to cut costs by 10 percent or more. The cost-saving measures included job cuts, plant closures and product-line rationalization,” according to Hoovers analysts. Asahi subsequently announced a new slogan, “Execution for Excellence 2007.”

“I’m coming in from outside the glass industry and will be spending time learning about the company and evaluating everything we do,” Kitterman said during a May 25 telephone interview.

“When we have that [strategic] plan, there could be changes in structure and people,” Kitterman warned, “but the approach will be based on the condition of the company.”

Kitterman has a 1982 electrical engineering degree from Auburn University in Alabama. Since April 2004, he served as senior vice president and then president of energy and utilities for LogicaCMG, with headquarters in London and North American headquarters in Lexington, Mass.; in 2003-04, as president of United States Pipe and Foundry Co. of Birmingham, Ala.; and from 1996-2003 as president of the North American Utilities Division for Schlumberger Ltd. in Tampa, a supplier of water, electric and gas meters for utilities. Under his leadership, Schlumberger doubled its revenues, according to company releases. He drove margin expansion through increased efficiencies in manufacturing.

Proud of his engineering background, Kitterman espouses an affinity for “increasing the value of what we bring to the market,” and “helping customers be more profitable through product differentiation based on technology. I hope to be a leader in that area.”