Vice president for mobility Americas, Axalta Coating Systems
Big break: Joining Axalta in 2013, months after the former DuPont Performance Coatings business became an independent company
Working at Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. is the best of two worlds, says Dan Naugle, the supplier’s vice president for mobility Americas.
On one hand, Axalta, based in Glen Mills, Pa., is like a startup — it’s still new and agile, Naugle says, so management can change the company’s direction quickly when necessary.
On the other hand, through its predecessor company, DuPont Performance Coatings, Axalta has corporate roots dating back over 150 years and a long-established reputation for creating standard-setting, high-quality products.
Naugle joined Axalta in 2013, less than a year after it became a separate company. In February 2013, DuPont sold its coatings business to a private equity group led by Carlyle Group for $4.9 billion.
Naugle was part of a corporate finance team that put together Axalta’s 2014 initial public offering.
“At that time, it was like going to a startup,” Naugle said. “Only, it was a startup that had 150 years of history and product behind it. It felt like we really could create something.”
Naugle is responsible for profits and losses for mobility coatings products in the company’s largest-selling global region, consisting of North America and South America.
Coatings is the supplier industry term for paint and other treatments to protect, beautify and otherwise enhance exterior and interior surfaces.
Paint accounts for the lion’s share of the company’s sales, but Axalta offers many more products and services. In addition, coatings offer more benefits than just appearance and protection against rust and scratches, Naugle said.
For example, coatings for electric motors and electric vehicle batteries are also formulated to provide thermal management, he said. So the company renamed and repositioned what was previously known as its global transportation segment as mobility coatings.
“In 2021, the global transportation team saw a need to redefine who we were in an evolving automotive industry,” he said. “We were acting as a traditional chemical company, but needed to transform into a mobility-focused supplier.”
Mobility coatings includes light vehicles and commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks, RVs, truck bodies and trailers, and buses, the company says.
“We looked at trends happening in the market — things like electrification, automation, customization — that people wanted to see from their vehicles,” Naugle said. “We needed to be more than just an exterior paint provider.
— Jim Henry