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MSA Safety appoints Steve Blanco as new CEO in strategic leadership transition

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MSA Safety management succession plans unveiled

The Board of Directors of MSA Safety has elected Steve Blanco as its Chief Executive Officer, effective May 10, 2024.

This appointment is set to follow the company’s annual meeting of shareholders.

In a move that underscores the company’s commitment to strategic leadership continuity, Blanco, who currently serves as MSA’s President and Chief Operating Officer, has also been elected as a director of the company with immediate effect.

A strategic move at a dynamic time

The election of Blanco is part of a carefully planned management succession strategy, aligning with the announcement by MSA Chairman and CEO Nish Vartanian of his intention to retire in May.

“The Board of Directors and I are very pleased for Steve to become CEO in May of this year and to be elected to the MSA Board at what is a very exciting and dynamic time for our company and the safety industry overall,” Vartanian stated.

He highlighted the Board’s confidence in Blanco’s ability to lead MSA into the future, maintaining the growth and performance trajectory established in recent years.

Steve Blanco’s journey with MSA

Steve Blanco joined MSA in 2012 and has played a pivotal role in the company’s growth, particularly in the Americas where he has been responsible for business in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America since 2017.

Under his leadership, the Americas segment witnessed a revenue increase of over 40 percent from 2018 through 2022.

Blanco’s tenure at MSA also includes significant contributions to the acquisitions and integrations of Globe Manufacturing, Sierra Monitor, and Bacharach, and the development of the MSA Business System aimed at driving continuous improvement across the company.

Looking ahead: MSA’s future under new leadership

As MSA enters its 110th year, Vartanian expressed his belief that Blanco’s experience, leadership qualities, and dedication to the MSA culture make him the ideal candidate to lead the company.

On his retirement plans, Vartanian, who has served MSA for 39 years, expressed his intention to remain on the MSA Board and his recent appointment as a director of Koppers Inc.

He reflected on his time as CEO with gratitude, particularly towards the commitment of MSA’s associates worldwide.

Board’s confidence in the leadership transition

Robert A. Bruggeworth, MSA’s lead independent director, praised Vartanian’s leadership, especially through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed the Board’s gratitude for his contributions.

He also conveyed the Board’s full confidence in Steve Blanco’s ability to steer the company forward, highlighting the well-prepared state of the Executive Leadership Team for future challenges and opportunities.

IFSJ Comment

The announcement of Steve Blanco as the new CEO of MSA Safety represents a significant moment in the company’s long history.

This leadership transition reflects a thoughtful succession planning process and underscores the company’s resilience and adaptability in the face of evolving industry dynamics.

As MSA continues to innovate and lead in the safety products sector, the experience and vision of its new leadership are expected to drive further growth and success.

This transition marks the beginning of a new chapter for and serves as an example of effective leadership succession within the global business community.

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