The promotion of two top Johnson Controls Inc. executives appears to be part of succession planning at the giant auto parts maker.
Keith Wandell, 56, president of the automotive group, has been given the added role of president and COO of the Milwaukee-based company, which is also an interior buildings controls company.
Steve Roell, 56, vice chairman and executive vice president, has been named chairman of a newly formed Executive Operating Committee composed of key senior leaders.
Long-time industry observer David Cole said the promotions suggest that company CEO John Barth, 60, "is teeing up for his possible replacement."
In a statement, Barth, said the Executive Operating Committee is charged with driving the company forward with an emphasis on people development.
Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said succession planning is even more important as Johnson Controls has become a far more complicated business at a time of industry turmoil.
Cole said, "They have a more challenging business than in the past and that requires a different approach."
Johnson Controls Inc. ranks No. 5 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $19.40 billion in 2005.
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