MSA Safety announces new CEO and management succession plans

February 23, 2024

MSA Safety, Inc. elects new CEO effective May 2024

MSA Safety, renowned for its advanced safety products and solutions, has named Steve Blanco as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective May 10, 2024.

This announcement comes in anticipation of the company’s annual meeting of shareholders.

Alongside his CEO role, Blanco has been elected as a director of the company, effective immediately.

Currently serving as MSA’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Blanco, aged 57, steps into his new role as part of a well-planned management succession strategy.

This transition coincides with the current MSA Chairman and CEO, Nish Vartanian’s decision to retire in May after informing the Board of Directors.

Vartanian shared news of his retirement and Blanco’s subsequent election at a recent meeting with the company’s global leadership team.

Leadership transition at a pivotal time for MSA Safety

“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,” stated Vartanian.

He expressed strong confidence in Blanco’s capabilities to propel MSA into the future, emphasizing the company’s consistent growth and performance over recent years.

Blanco’s association with MSA began in 2012 as Vice President of Global Operational Excellence.

In 2017, he ascended to President of MSA Americas, overseeing the business in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

Under his guidance, revenue in the Americas segment saw an increase of over 40 percent from 2018 to 2022.

Blanco’s tenure at MSA also includes overseeing significant acquisitions and integrations, such as Globe Manufacturing, Sierra Monitor, and Bacharach.

More recently, he has been instrumental in developing the MSA Business System aimed at fostering a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organization.

A seamless transition and future outlook

Vartanian, a 39-year veteran at MSA, reflected on his tenure as CEO with pride, particularly for the company’s focus on protecting workers.

He looks forward to continuing his involvement with MSA as a director and ensuring a smooth transition with Blanco.

Vartanian also shared his recent appointment as a director at Koppers Inc.

Robert A. Bruggeworth, MSA’s lead independent director, expressed gratitude for Vartanian’s leadership, especially during the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and voiced the Board’s full confidence in Blanco’s ability to lead MSA into its next phase of growth.

FSJA Comment

The management succession at MSA Safety, Inc marks a significant milestone in the company’s history, signaling a commitment to continuity, leadership excellence, and innovation in the safety industry.

As Steve Blanco prepares to assume the CEO role, his extensive experience within MSA and his vision for continuous improvement and growth are poised to steer the company through its next chapters of development.

The seamless transition planned by the Board, with Nish Vartanian’s support, ensures stability and confidence among stakeholders.

This leadership change occurs at a crucial juncture, with the safety industry undergoing rapid evolution and MSA celebrating its 110th year of business.

Blanco’s leadership will be crucial in maintaining MSA’s status as a global leader in safety solutions, adapting to market changes, and driving technological innovation to protect workers around the world.

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