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Milwaukee-based A. O. Smith Corp. announced that Ajita G. Rajendra has been named president and chief operating officer, effective Sept 1. He will be responsible for A. O. Smith’s water heater operations in North America, China, Europe and India, as well as the company’s water purification business in China. The $1.5 billion business has 17 manufacturing plants around the world and employs approximately 10,000 people.
In addition, Rajendra will be responsible for the Lochinvar global boiler business, once the acquisition of that company is complete. He also will oversee A. O. Smith’s global technology centers focused on research, development and product engineering, and the corporation’s information technology function.
“With his extensive experience, in-depth knowledge of our business, and passionate interest in customer satisfaction, Ajita Rajendra is the ideal person to take on this challenging new assignment,” said Paul W. Jones, chairman and chief executive officer. “Under his leadership, our water products company has achieved record sales and profitability. He has been instrumental in growing our market share in China and entering the important India water heater market.”
Jones will remain chairman and chief executive officer and will continue to lead the business transformation to a global water technology company. In addition to operations under Rajendra, Jones will retain responsibility for the corporation’s finance, human resources, legal and corporate development areas.
Rajendra joined A. O. Smith as president of its water products business in January 2005. He was named an executive vice president of the corporation in 2006. He has held a wide range of finance, operations, marketing and executive management positions throughout his 35-year career. Prior to joining A. O. Smith, he was senior vice president of Kennametal of Latrobe, Pa., a manufacturer of industrial cutting tools.
Rajendra holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. Rajendra is a member of the board of directors of Donaldson Co., a manufacturer of filtration products headquartered in Minneapolis.