A.O. Smith promotes Wheeler to president, COO

Company veteran previously led largest operating unit

Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 12:07 am

Milwaukee-based A.O. Smith Corp. named Kevin Wheeler as president and chief operating officer on Thursday.


Wheeler was previously senior vice president, president and general manager of North America, India and Europe water heating, the company’s largest operating unit.

A.O. Smith chairman and chief executive officer Ajita Rajendra credited Wheeler with leading the company’s North American water heater business to record sales and profitability along with growing international businesses.

“With his extensive experience, in-depth knowledge of our businesses and passionate interest in customer satisfaction, Kevin Wheeler is the ideal person to take on this challenging new assignment,” said Rajendra, who will now drop president from his title.

Wheeler takes over the previously vacant COO role and will now oversee A.O. Smith’s global water heater and boiler operations, the global water treatment business, research at the Milwaukee corporate technology center and information technology functions.

Wheeler has been with A.O. Smith since 1994 when he joined as a regional sales manager. He helped lead the company’s expansion in China and evaluation of the residential water heater market in India. Wheeler has been overseeing aspects of U.S. operations since 2007.  He was named senior vice president and general manager of the North America, India and Europe water heating business in 2011. He became president of that business in 2013.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.