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McGarry named PPG president

PPG Industries Inc. named Michael McGarry as its president on Thursday, adding to the perception that the company’s No. 2 executive is in line to succeed CEO Charles Bunch.

McGarry was named chief operating officer in August and will retain that title and his oversight for all of PPG’s business units and operating regions, the company said.

“Michael’s appointment to president recognizes his continued leadership in driving PPG’s growth as the world’s largest coatings company,” Bunch said in a written statement.

The company has said McGarry’s elevation to chief operating officer was part of PPG’s succession planning process, but that Bunch, 65, had no plans to retire. On Thursday, spokesman Mark Silvey responded to questions about Bunch’s future by stating: “Michael continues to report to Charles Bunch, who continues to serve as PPG’s Chairman and CEO.”

It’s typical for companies to place an heir-apparent in the chief operating officer and president posts as the CEO approaches retirement age, analysts have said.

McGarry, 56, joined PPG in 1981 as an engineer at the company’s Lake Charles, La., chemicals complex.

He has served in a number of leadership positions in the United States, Europe and Asia, and is credited with overseeing the acquisition and integration of AkzoNobel’s North American architectural coatings business and the acquisition of Consorcio Comex.

PPG paid $1.1 billion for the AkzoNobel business in 2013. It purchased Mexico City-based Consorcio Comex for $2.3 billion in 2014.

The company plans to spend between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion in 2015 and 2016 on acquisitions and stock repurchases. During the past 15 years, PPG has made 65 acquisitions to expand in the paint industry. Last year it spent $750 million to buy back 3.8 million shares, an action that boosts a company’s stock price.

“Michael’s proven ability to lead the implementation of our global business strategies will continue to be important in delivering increased shareholder value,” Bunch said in the statement.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or [email protected].

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