ST. LOUIS — Potter Electric Signal Co., a leading provider of mission-critical products to the fire and life-safety industry, has appointed Gerald Connolly as CEO, effective July 29.
Connolly succeeds Bernie Lears, as had been planned since Gryphon Investors made a majority investment in the company in 2017. Lears has elected to retire after almost 40 years with the company and will continue to serve on Potter’s board of directors as a vice chairman.
Lears served Potter in numerous roles, including as president and CEO for the past 21 years of the company’s 120-year history. He is credited with solidifying the company’s commitment to quality and customer service, according to an announcement.
“I am proud to have spent my career building a leading fire safety business, and I am looking forward to working with Gerry and Gryphon on innovative solutions for Potter’s continued success in the future,” Lears states.
Connolly is an accomplished 30-year veteran of the building solutions and fire-safety industry. He comes to Potter most recently from electrical and digital building infrastructure specialist Legrand SA, where he was president of the $500 million wiring device solutions division, Pass and Seymour.
Formerly, Connolly served as vice president and general manager at Brooks Automation, where he turned around a $150 million technology division and developed their strategic growth plans.
Prior to Brooks Automation, Connolly served as president of Kidde-Fenwal, a United Technologies Corp. (UTC) company, where he initiated growth strategies as he oversaw global expansion plans for this $350 million fire and safety division.
While at Kidde-Fenwal, he also served as general manager, Global Fire Protection Systems. Earlier in his career, Connolly held various roles at Advanced Safety Systems and Pittway Corp. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering Management from Northeastern University in Boston.
“I have long admired Potter for its outstanding products and reputation, and I am now thrilled to play a role in the next stage of the Company’s growth,” states Connolly. “As fire and life-safety protection and code compliance become ever more critical in commercial, industrial, and residential buildings, opportunities for the company will only increase.”
Connolly continues, “I look forward to working with Gryphon and the Potter team to continue the development of industry-leading products in sprinkler monitoring and fire systems, and to expand internationally. I am excited to build on the relationships Potter has cultivated with its key partners and customers to bring these products to market and cement our role as a global leader.”
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