Polaris Industries begins looking for new CEO

Longtime Polaris Industries CEO Tom Tiller is stepping down, a decision Tiller said he made because it was the “right time for me, my family and for Polaris.”
Tiller will remain with the Minnesota manufacturer as it looks both internally and externally for his replacement, something the company foresees possibly taking into the third or fourth quarter of this year to occur.
Tiller said the decision to leave did not come as a result of “one triggering event” and he is not leaving for another job. In fact, Tiller said in a conference call with stock analysts that he does not have any outside job offers, “nor am I going to entertain any” until after a successor has been named.
Finding a CEO with a fresh perspective is part of the reason behind the change at the top, Tiller said.
“With all the pressures placed on public companies and their CEOs, I think it is difficult to be effective in the job for 20-25 years,” said Tiller, who has been with the company for 10 years.
Tiller also noted the change is occurring for personal reasons, noting he has “enjoyed a fresh challenge about every seven years or so.”
As CEO, Tiller oversaw the company’s growth in net sales from $1.1 billion in 1998 to nearly $1.8 billion in 2007. The company also more than doubled its percentage of international revenue during Tiller’s tenure.
“I would not anticipate any major changes to the way we have run the company for the past 10 years,” he said of the future. “We will be aggressive and push like hell, and probably make a mistake or two, but we will stay after it.”
Tiller said Polaris’ board of directors made a decision several years ago to look both inside and outside for his replacement at the appropriate time. He did note that Bennett Morgan, Polaris’ president and COO, certainly will be a candidate. Tiller said Morgan “has done an excellent job and with more than 20 years with the company, he may very well be the best person.
“But we won’t know that for sure until we evaluate the best external candidates through a comprehensive search.”

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