Current CEO Tom Tiller says he expects to step down from his position by the end of 2008 when his contract expires. The 46-year-old Tiller has been with Polaris since July 1998 and has held his current position since May, 1999.
“After considerable thought and extensive discussions with the board of directors, I felt 2008 was the right time to leave,” says Tiller. “When I came to Polaris from GE, I expected to lead the company for a considerable period, and 2008 marks my tenth year here. I absolutely love our company, our products, and our people, and I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish together.
“We have a very solid and experienced team, and I am confident in our ability to win well into the future. Our company is in good shape so it seems like the right time.”
Tiller will be helping choose his successor and is expected to remain on the Polaris board of directors for a transitional period after a successor is named.
“We have had a comprehensive succession plan in place for several years, and are in the process of executing that plan, which will ultimately identify the best possible candidate,” says Polaris chairman Greg Palen. “We will take the time necessary to identify the very best person, and that process is expected to be completed this year.”
Under Tiller’s leadership, Polaris has seen net sales grow from US$1.1 billion in 1998 to nearly US$1.8 billion in 2007. During Tiller’s tenure, the company has expanded its international business outside of North America from 6% of total company sales in 1998 to approximately 14% in 2007.
Tiller also helped Polaris diversify revenue, including growing the side-by-side business, which now accounts for one-third of total ATV sales. Polaris also launched Victory under Tiller’s leadership, which the company claims is the first successful launch of a major motorcycle brand in more than 60 years.
“We are thankful to Tom for the direction and success he has provided in the decade in which he has led the company, and support his decision to take some time away from the life of a public company CEO,” says Palen.