SANTA PAULA, Calif. — BendPak, Inc., a global manufacturer and marketer of vehicle service equipment and specialty consumer products, announced changes to its executive team effective August 3, according to a press release.
President Don Henthorn, who has led the company since establishing it in 1965, will take on a more limited role in its daily operations as chairman emeritus.
Jeff Kritzer will be promoted from executive vice president to succeed Henthorn as president and CEO.
At the same time, Rudy Diaz will step up from vice president of information technology to executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO).
Jim Fornear moves from financial controller to chief financial officer (CFO).
Rounding out the leadership team, Javier Arias continues in the critical role of vice president of operations.
Henthorn will be active in an advisory capacity to ensure a seamless transition of leadership and will serve as a business mentor who will share his experience and wisdom.
“All of us at BendPak are grateful for Don’s continued service to the company and his solid contributions to our success. We look forward to his ongoing guidance and direction during this transitionary period,” Kritzer said. “Since 1965, his leadership, mentoring style and embodiment of our company values and traditions have helped establish our winning culture. We have some very big shoes to fill, but through his mentorship and shaping of our company’s work ethic and culture, we believe our market dominance will continue.”
Kritzer has held many roles over the 40 years he has worked at BendPak, including national sales manager, president of sales and senior vice president of marketing.
For the last three years as executive vice president, he has applied his experience to help grow BendPak’s multi-faceted brands and divisions.
He has managed aggressive product development and engineering initiatives, enhanced supply chain and transportation efficiencies, increased distribution channels and developed marketing strategies that have helped transform BendPak into a lifestyle brand.
In addition to his work for BendPak, Kritzer also serves the industry as an active member of the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) where he is chairman of the board of directors.
“I am excited for Jeff to assume the president’s role as part of our long-term succession plan,” Henthorn said. “Jeff has been a driving force in the success of our company in the 40 years since he joined our organization. He is widely respected by our team for his hard work, integrity and straightforward style, and with his continued leadership, he will be a superb steward of our culture. I am confident that with Jeff and the rest of the executive team in place, BendPak is well-positioned to continue delivering on our brand promise to better serve our customers around the world.”