Elkay Manufacturing Co. has announced the retirement of Chairman of the Board Ron Katz. Elkay is an American-owned and operated manufacturer of plumbing and water delivery products. Elkay is also parent to Elkay Interior Systems, a global interior design and manufacturing company; and Elkay Commercial Systems, a stainless steel commercial kitchen products business. Katz is a third-generation member of the founding family. He has worked at Elkay for 67 years and will remain an active member of the board. Former Elkay President and CEO Tim Jahnke succeeds him as chairman of the board of directors.
"Ron has been a visionary leader for this company through a period of incredible growth. His wisdom has been the backbone of this company's success for nearly seven decades," said Jahnke. "Over the course of his career, Ron has become a well-respected leader in our industry. Elkay is fortunate he will continue serving on the Board."
Katz worked his way up from his first role as a part-time employee on Elkay's shop floor. He made it his business to understand the company and the customers they serve inside out and from the bottom up. He accepted a seat on the board of directors in 1963 and continued to accept a variety of strategic positions within the company, including president and chief operating officer in 1983.
Katz was elected vice chairman of the board and CEO on March 26, 1985. The following year, on March 24, 1986, he became chairman of the board and CEO. He retained this position until handing the role of CEO to Jahnke in 2007.
Jahnke led Elkay as president and CEO between 2007 and 2019. He has also served on the Elkay Board of Directors since 2008. Under Jahnke's leadership, the company expanded globally into growing markets in Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Asia. During this period, the company also experienced rapid growth within its plumbing business segment, which includes water delivery and sink products.
As president and CEO, Jahnke led the company through a significant shift in strategy. He built a dynamic culture that redoubled its commitment to world-class customer experiences. He also focused the company on expansion into new products and worldwide markets. Under his direction, the company received multiple awards for innovation, sustainability, and leadership in product development and technology. Jahnke led the company through several acquisitions that significantly expanded Elkay's global capabilities. During his tenure, the company purchased Elkay Interior Systems, which provides global turnkey design and build services for branded restaurant, retail, and hospitality environments.
Jahnke also currently serves in a board role for Kimball International. Until recently, he held a board role with the Midwest Affiliate of the American Heart Association as well.
"For the past 13 years, Tim Jahnke has been a sterling example of professional leadership. Throughout his tenure at Elkay, he has led the company masterfully. He consistently embodies our values, which have been and will always be the foundation for Elkay's future," said Katz. "As Tim steps into his new position as Chairman of the Board, the Board of Directors and I have every confidence in Tim and Elkay's President and CEO, Ric Phillips, working together to lead our company forward."
"As we celebrate our 100th Anniversary, Elkay is a rapidly-growing global company spanning multiple industries. It is a great moment to be at Elkay," Jahnke said. "We have a powerful strategy in place, and our businesses continue to experience rapid growth. We are fortunate to have an exceptional leadership team, and Elkay's people are second to none. Accepting this leadership role at such a vital time in the company's history is an honor."