Wheeler has been with the company since 1993 and was recently promoted to president and COO.
Joining the board puts him on a similar path to the company’s chief executive officer Ajita Rajendra and his predecessor Paul Jones. Both men became directors in the same year they were named president and COO and were in those roles for roughly two years before becoming CEO. Rajendra, who also currently services as chairman, was 65 when the company made its annual proxy statement in March.
Asked if the addition was part of a succession plan, Chuck Wright, an A.O. Smith spokesman, said in an email the company has traditionally included its president and COO on the board and the practice dates back to the 1960s.
Wheeler is responsible for A. O. Smith’s global water heater and boiler operations; global water treatment business and global product engineering and information technology functions. Before his promotion Wheeler was senior vice president, president and general manager of North America, India, and Europe water heating, the company’s largest operating unit.
Wheeler will be a Class A Common Stock director. The board is expanding to 11 members with the addition of Wheeler.