UPDATE 1-Rockwell Auto taps unit heads, potential next CEO

Thu Feb 3, 2011 11:35am EST

Related Topics

* Moret, Kulaszewicz named to run divisions

* Move part of "longer-term succession planning," CEO says

* CEO Nosbusch has no near-term plans to retire-spokesman

By Scott Malone

BOSTON, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Rockwell Automation Inc (ROK.N) named two insiders as senior vice presidents heading its two divisions, starting the process for grooming an eventual successor to Chief Executive Keith Nosbusch.

The company, which makes products that help factories run more smoothly, said Blake Moret, 48, would take the lead at its control products and solutions segment while Frank Kulaszewicz, 46, will oversee its architecture and software arms.

"These appointments are a natural next step in our continued globalization and are consistent with our longer-term succession planning," Nosbusch, 59, said in a statement.

Nosbusch has no plans to retire in the near future, said John Bernaden, a spokesman for the Milwaukee-based company. The men will take up their new positions on April 1.

Rockwell shares were down 59 cents at $82.35 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Kulaszewicz will be based in Singapore, a change reflecting that Rockwell's revenue growth has been driven by demand in Asia over the past few years, Nosbusch said.

Kulaszewicz succeeds Steve Eisenbrown, 57, who becomes senior vice president of strategic development. Moret succeeds Bob Ruff, 62, who will become president of Asia-Pacific operations.

Nosbusch, who joined Rockwell in 1974, was named chairman and CEO in 2004.

Rockwell, which competes with the likes of Emerson Electric Co (EMR.N) and ABB Ltd (ABBN.VX), has come roaring out of the recession, as manufacturers once more invest in capital equipment.

Its shares are up about 65 percent so far this year, outpacing the 31 percent rise of the Standard & Poor's capital goods industry index .GSPIC. (Reporting by Scott Malone, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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