Charles (Charlie) A. Banks, formerly president/CEO of Ferguson Enterprises (Newport News, Va.), has been named group chief executive for its parent company, Wolseley plc, and is relocating to the United Kingdom.
Ferguson, the group's principal U.S. subsidiary, will be headed by Claude (Chip) Hornsby, who had been senior vice president/branch operations and is a 23-year veteran of the company.
Under Banks' leadership, Ferguson's sales have grown from $600 million to more than $3 billion and the number of branches operated has increased from 162 to 479. Wolseley entered the U.S. market in 1982 with the acquisition of Ferguson Enterprises. In 1986 the company acquired Carolina Builders, followed by Familian Northwest in 1988.
Richard Ireland, executive chairman of Wolseley plc, will revert to being the group's nonexecutive chairman.
"Charlie has made a significant contribution to the Wolseley Group since he was appointed to the Wolseley Board in 1992 where he has shown himself to be an executive with vision and sound commercial judgment," Ireland said in a statement.
"I am thrilled to be given the responsibility of leading this great company," Banks said in a statement. "Wolseley has shown a terrific record of growth over many years, through organic expansion and acquisitions. I am confident that we will build on that strong base to sustain the group's development in existing and new international markets."
Wolseley's U.S. plumbing and heating division has grown to nearly 600 branches, with annual sales approaching $4.7 billion and an estimated 5% share of the U.S. market. The company is a specialist trade distributor of plumbing and heating products and a distributor of building materials and pipe, valves and fittings in the United States and Europe. Its plumbing, heating and sanitation distribution business in Europe includes 1,500 branches with total annual sales of about $3.5 billion for the year 2000.
In other news, Wolseley has been approved for listing a new American Depositary Receipt program on the New York Stock Exchange in addition to its present listing in London. Effective May 31 its London Stock Exchange symbol will change from WLY to WOS.
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