Rheem announced the retirement of John Fitzgerald from his role as executive vice president of operations. “Fitz” joined Rheem in 2016 and brought more than 30 years of diverse experience from several industries.
Fitz led many different teams and functions throughout his career at Rheem. His vision and leadership in Brand Strategy, Enterprise Marketing and Sports Marketing had a significant impact on Rheem’s brand awareness. He also oversaw business-critical functions including IT, Advanced Technology Integration, Controls Engineering, Procurement and Supply Chain Management, and Corporate Quality.
“Fitz’s contributions to Rheem have been many, but he is perhaps most passionate about launching Rheem’s ‘A Greater Degree of Good’ global sustainability initiative in 2019,” said Chris Peel, president and CEO at Rheem. “The initiative became embedded into Rheem’s culture worldwide and changed how our company develops, manufactures, sells and supports our products.”
“A Greater Degree of Good” resulted in significant reduction of greenhouse gases and production waste and included training programs for Rheem’s installation partners.
“I absolutely consider myself fortunate to have had the ability to work on Rheem’s sustainability program,” said Fitz. “My Native American heritage has helped form many of my viewpoints and priorities that influenced my efforts. My tribe has always believed that all things in nature have their own ‘essence’ of life. This belief clearly was tied to my passion for our ‘zero waste to landfill’ and greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
Fitz said that “circularity,” a key Penobscot philosophy, has influenced his viewpoints.
“This circular tendency was pivotal to our sustainability program, as you think about recycling initiatives and lifecycle analysis programs,” Fitz explained. “We are trying to understand the impact of activities and products from their raw materials through the disposition at the end of its life.”
Rheem also announced the promotion of Chee Wee Gan to a new role as senior vice president, strategy and sustainability. Chee Wee joined Rheem in 2018 and will continue to drive global strategic planning for the organization while advancing global brand and sustainability initiatives. Additionally, he will continue spearheading Rheem’s global licensing strategic initiatives in his expanded role.
Rheem’s sustainability initiative is on pace to meet or exceed 2025 goals, designed to coincide with the company’s 100th anniversary.
Fitz’s retirement became official January 1, 2022. He has planned a series of outdoor adventures such as climbing, rafting and hiking in destinations including Alaska, Utah, Colorado and Oregon.