A.O. Smith Water Products Co. appointed Kevin Wheeler senior vice president and general manager of U.S. retail water heaters and Wei Ding as vice president – China.

In other changes, Steve Anderson, who is currently senior vice president-global operations, will assume profit and loss responsibility for all international operations outside of North America and China; and David Warren, managing director of the Veldhoven operation, will now assume responsibility for all international sales outside of North America and China including the company’s export water heater business. 

In his new position, Wheeler will be responsible for the company’s retail Strategic Business Unit including the U.S. Craftmaster, Whirlpool, Kenmore and Reliance brands. Wheeler has more than 20 years of experience in the water heater industry.  He joined A. O. Smith as western regional sales manager in 1994 and was named regional sales manager for the 14-state southwest region in 1997. In 1999, he moved to the Veldhoven operation as managing director of that facility.  In 2004, he was promoted to Water Products as vice president-international.

Wheeler replaced Robert W. Trudeau, who retired May 31 as president of American Water Heater Co. Trudeau first joined A. O. Smith’s water heater business in 1970 and returned in 1981 as vice president-sales and marketing.  He was named executive vice president of the residential business in 1984 and was appointed president of A. O. Smith Water Products Co. in 1987.

Trudeau had been president of American Water Heater since 1996 and led its successful turnaround. Trudeau rejoined A. O. Smith in April 2006 when it acquired American.

Wei Ding joined A. O. Smith’s Nanjing operation in 1997 and was named managing director of that business in 2000. The Nanjing team has helped build A. O. Smith into a $130 million business in China, making it the number two brand in market share in that country. The company plans to construct a second water heater manufacturing plant on its Nanjing campus.

Anderson joined the company as vice president-North American operations in 2004 and added the global operations and supply chain responsibilities in 2006.

Warren joined A. O. Smith as a sales coordinator in 1989 and was promoted to district manager of the South Texas district. He became sales manager of the South Central region in 1999 and was named director of Reliance water heater sales in 2002. Warren has been managing director of the Veldhoven operation since July 2004, responsible for the European and Middle Eastern markets.