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updated: 10/16/2012 4:28 PM

ITW CEO Speer takes leave, Santi named to top spot

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  • David B. Speer

    David B. Speer

Daily Herald News Services

Glenview-based Illinois Tool Works Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Speer announced he will take a leave of absence for health reasons.

Speer announced in November 2011 that he was undergoing treatment for an undisclosed medical condition.

ITW named E. Scott Santi as vice chairman, president and chief operating officer. Santi was also been appointed acting chief executive officer.

ITW's lead director, Robert S. Morrison, will serve as acting nonexecutive chairman of the board, effective immediately.

"The promotion of Scott to president and chief operating officer reflects the board's normal and carefully considered succession planning process," said Morrison. "Scott is an accomplished ITW executive with nearly 30 years of service. With David Speer's full support, the board also appointed Scott as acting CEO. The board has a great deal of confidence in Scott and ITW's leadership team."

Speer called Santi "a proven leader with extensive knowledge of ITW's key markets and businesses.

"He has played a leading role in the development of ITW's current enterprise strategy," Speer added.

Santi, 51, joined ITW in 1983 and has spent his entire career with the company. He was elected as executive vice president in 2004 and vice chairman in 2008. He also serves as a director of W.W. Grainger. Santi graduated from the University of Illinois in 1983 with a B.S. degree in accounting, and received a Master's in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University in 1992.

"The senior management team and I will work to build on ITW's long history of strong performance as well as continue to execute our strategic initiatives of portfolio management, business structure simplification and strategic sourcing to enhance value for shareholders," Santi said. "On behalf of the entire ITW family, we wish David a full recovery."

Morrison, 70, retired as vice chairman of PepsiCo, Inc., having served in that position from 2001 to 2003. He was chairman, president and CEO of The Quaker Oats Company from 1997 to 2001, prior to its merger with PepsiCo. Morrison was chairman and CEO of Kraft, Inc. from 1994 to 1997, and also served as interim chairman and CEO of 3M Co. in 2005. Morrison is currently a director of 3M and Aon Corp. and was formerly a director of The Tribune Co. He has served as a director of ITW since 2003 and currently serves as lead director.

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