Stihl names new president, CEO
Chris Keffer takes on new role Aug. 4
Virginia Beach-based chainsaw and outdoor power equipment manufacturer Stihl Inc. has announced a leadership shift a little more than a year after Terry Horan took on the role of president and CEO.
Chris Keffer, senior vice president of sales and marketing, will become the company’s new president and CEO on August 4, replacing Horan, who was named to the company’s board of directors, the company said Friday.
Stihl Inc. is the largest subsidiary of the global Stihl Group and employs more than 1,900 workers in Virginia Beach.
“Terry has the heartfelt thanks of the Stihl family for his exceptional leadership,” Nikolas Stihl, Stihl Group advisory board and supervisory board chair, said in a statement. “He has built a strong leadership team and established the foundation for significant growth through a demonstrated commitment to our loyal distribution network and local Stihl dealers, focusing the organization on winning as one team.”
Stihl spokesman Roger Phelps told Virginia Business Friday that Horan’s decision to step down from his current role was made in consultation with the company’s executive board and is part of its larger succession plan. Keffer joined Stihl in April 2022 as vice president of sales and marketing from Stanley Black & Decker Inc., where he spent nearly two decades, according to his LinkedIn profile. Keffer has been helping to lead Stihl’s transition toward battery-powered equipment, Phelps said.
Stihl joined the American Green Zone Alliance to support battery electric transition training and education, Landscape Management reported in late June.
“The USA is by far our most important market worldwide,” Stihl Executive Board Chairman Michael Traub said in a statement. “These appointments provide stability and continuity, which are critical to our long-term strategic and operational success. Chris has quickly established himself as an innovator and leader and has a keen understanding of our market and our customers. His experience and expertise will enable the company to lead in all markets in which we choose to compete.”
In October 2021, Stihl announced that its U.S.-based president of operations, Bjoern Fischer, and Nick Jiannas, vice president of U.S. sales and marketing, were leaving by mutual agreement. Fischer had served as president since 2016 and had been with Stihl since 2012. Horan, who served as RPM Consumer Group president at Ohio-based sealant, coating and building materials manufacturer RPM International Inc., was hired after an extensive search.
Neither Horan nor Keffer were immediately available for comment Friday.
“For nearly 100 years, Stihl has remained steadfastly committed to providing the premium quality tools our professional and demanding residential users expect,” Horan said in a statement. “Working on this marquee brand alongside our loyal and dedicated workforce has been the pinnacle of my 37-year professional career. I look forward to supporting Chris and the executive council, as together we continue our legacy of market leadership.”
Before joining Stihl, Keffer served as president of product management for Stanley Black & Decker’s power tools group. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and an executive MBA from Loyola University Maryland.
“I would like to thank Terry, the Stihl board and the Stihl family for their confidence in me,” Keffer said in a statement. “Stihl has always had a long-term strategic outlook. So, while our market may be facing short-term challenges, we see tremendous opportunity in our future. We have the people, products, programs and partners to grow our position as the leading authority in the gas and battery outdoor power equipment markets.”