Benno Dorer will become CEO of The Clorox Co. on Nov. 20, succeeding CEO Donald R. “Don” Knauss, who will afterward fill the newly created position of executive chairman.
Knauss, 63, has served as chairman and CEO of the Oakland, Calif.-based company since October 2006, holding overall responsibility for directing the company’s worldwide business, which generated revenues of $5.6 billion in fiscal year 2014. Since January 2013, Dorer, 50, has served as EVP and COO-cleaning, international and corporate strategy.
“Don has done a tremendous job leading the company through its Centennial Strategy and establishing the company’s 2020 Strategy,” said Robert W. Matschullat, who will remain lead director of the board. “I’m pleased that the board and executive management team’s dedication to succession planning allows us to appoint such a strong and capable leader as Benno Dorer to the CEO role and that it will enable a smooth transition.”
“With such a strong successor and management team, it’s a great time to turn the helm over to Benno while I continue as chairman of the board,” Knauss said. “Throughout his career, Benno has demonstrated a track record of successfully achieving results and driving change. He has the broad perspective, international experience and strong strategic skills to lead Clorox into the future. I look forward to supporting him as Clorox’s new CEO.”
Dorer said, “I can’t wait to start working with the executive team and leaders across the company to build on the strategy Don has led over the past eight years.”
Knauss joined Clorox following a career at The Coca-Cola Co., where he last served as president and COO of Coca-Cola North America. He began his career at Coca-Cola in 1994 as SVP of marketing for Minute Maid. Before joining Coca-Cola, Knauss held various positions in marketing and sales with PepsiCo Inc. and Procter & Gamble. Prior to launching his business career, Knauss served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Dorer started his career in 1990 at Procter & Gamble, where he held marketing and sales positions across a range of categories and countries. He joined Clorox in 2005 as VP and GM for Glad® Products. In March 2007, Dorer was named VP/GM-Household Division, and subsequently went on to lead the company’s Cleaning Division and Canada. In 2013, he was promoted to his current role as EVP and COO.
Two other appointments announced
After Dorer’s promotion, the EVP/COO-Cleaning and International role will be filled by Dawn Willoughby, 45, currently SVP and GM of the company’s Cleaning Division. In her new role, Willoughby will have responsibility for the laundry, home care, international and Canada business operating units.
Also, Nick Vlahos, 46, currently SVP-chief customer officer, has been promoted to EVP and COO-Household, Lifestyle and Core Global Functions, a position previously held by retiring EVP-COO George Roeth. In this role, Vlahos will have responsibility for the charcoal, Glad®, cat litter, food, Brita® and Burt’s Bees® business operating units. He also will have responsibility for the company’s marketing, sales, product supply and research & development functions.
Commenting on these promotions, Dorer said, “The board and executive management team’s strong succession planning has enabled us to name Dawn and Nick to these roles, ensuring continuity and a smooth transition. They are tremendously capable leaders with deep experience.
“In his 19 years of service, Nick has a strong track record as a leader in the company’s sales and marketing organizations, including his current role overseeing the company’s worldwide customer organization. He has led a number of businesses, including laundry, Brita and Burt’s Bees. During his time as general manager of Burt’s Bees he led the brand’s growth into more than 40 countries. Prior to Clorox, Nick launched his career at Helene Curtis.”
Dorer continued, “During her 13 years at Clorox, Dawn moved up the ranks into general management positions, including vice president-general manager roles for Home Care and subsequently for Glad Products, where she led the brand’s focus on sustainable waste management and break-through innovation. Since January 2013, Dawn has led the company’s largest reporting segment as vice president & general manager-Cleaning Division. Prior to Clorox, Dawn spent nine years with Procter & Gamble.”
Roeth, 53, will retire Jan. 2, 2015.
“George’s impact and leadership during his 27 years at Clorox has been immense,” said Knauss. “As EVP and COO for Lifestyle, Household and Global Operating Functions, George has overseen development of the company’s world-class consumer insights capabilities, increased contributions of new products to company sales results and enhanced efficiency and capability in the company’s supply chain operations, among many other contributions. He has led the company’s strategy to transform the company into a more agile enterprise, to drive our business with greater speed and efficiency and focus the company on work that delivers the highest value to our consumers.”
The Clorox Co. is a leading multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer and professional products with approximately 8,200 employees worldwide and fiscal year 2014 sales of $5.6 billion. Clorox markets brands including Pine-Sol® cleaners; Liquid Plumr® clog removers; Poett® home care products; Fresh Step® cat litter; Glad® bags, wraps and containers; Kingsford® charcoal; Hidden Valley® and KC Masterpiece® dressings and sauces; Brita® water-filtration products and Burt’s Bees® natural personal care products.