Article | March 13, 2014

Xylem's New CEO Focused On Industry, Innovation

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By Laura Martin
@LauraOnWater

PatrickDecker

The industrial sector is an increasing priority for Xylem Inc.  The global water technology company is already present in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical, agriculture, construction, food, and beverage industries and has now named Patrick K. Decker, the former CEO of industrial services company Harsco Corporation, the new president and chief executive officer of Xylem.

“We are focused on the industrial space,” said Decker. “This means focusing on industrial product offerings, improving our industrial distribution and sales channel, and bringing an industry-specific vertical marketing approach. Industrial customers are facing increasing pressure both to reduce their water footprint and to meet increasingly stringent quality requirements.  We have had success in bringing our treatment offerings to bear on both sets of challenges.”

Decker, 49, has been with the Harsco Corporation since 2012.  At Harsco he was successful in establishing company-wide programs focused on business simplification, Lean Six Sigma continuous improvement, talent development, innovation, and safety.   Prior to that, he served as President of Tyco Flow Control, a $4 billion leader in industrial flow control solutions, where he was able to grow revenue significantly in the emerging markets, execute the company’s largest acquisitions in Brazil and the Middle East, and champion a three-year philanthropic commitment to clean water access. In addition, he led the effort that resulted in the separation of the Flow Control business from the parent company. 

He will be officially appointed a member of the Board of Directors on March 17. At Xylem, Decker succeeds Steven R. Loranger who will remain a member of the Xylem Board. Decker plans to continue a similar leadership style as his predecessor.

“Like Steve Loranger, who has led Xylem up to this point,I see both innovation and continuous improvement as central to our success at Xylem,” said Decker. “First is improving our efficiencies, which means executing a lot of the plans that are already in place around operational excellence focused on improving our service to customers, getting rid of waste through lean practices, integrating the front end of our business so that customers can benefit from our full range of solutions, while ensuring more simplicity, speed and focus.”

Xylem does business in more than 150 countries, had an annual revenue of $3.8 billion in 2013, and has more than 12,500 employees worldwide.  For the last two years, Xylem has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for advancing sustainable business practices and solutions worldwide.

This success is what drew Decker to the company.

“One of the things that attracted me to Xylem was its leadership position in the water industry, with its portfolio of strong product brands like Flygt, Wedeco, Sanitaire, Leopold, YSI, Godwin, WTW and many others,” he said. “Our customers rely on our applications expertise across the entire water cycle, and I would not expect that to change.”