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Huffy president and CEO Bill Smith will retire at the end of the year

Published September 26, 2018

DAYTON, Ohio (BRAIN) — Huffy Corp. has announced that Claude Jordan will succeed Bill Smith as CEO and president as Smith retires in December. Smith will remain a director on the Huffy Corp. board, and will assume new roles as CEO emeritus and senior adviser.

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In his 25-year tenure with the company, Smith has spent the past eight years as CEO, leading the company's return to profitability after emerging from bankruptcy in 2005. Under his leadership, the company more than doubled its sales, increased international product revenue by expanding distribution to 40 countries, grew Huffy's leadership share as the world's largest volume bicycle supplier and launched several new product and marketing initiatives, including Batch Bicycles and Allite Inc.

Smith said he won't be stepping away from the industry and Huffy completely, and that he will continue his work with PeopleForBikes, and remain involved in broader issues like tariffs.

"I am going to begin to move into retirement but yet I'm still going to be quite nicely connected. I'll continue to participate in some of the initiatives we've launched recently," he said. "It really gives me an opportunity to do the things I really want to do, which is to spend more time with my wife and kids and grandkids and I'm going to get to do that, while at the same time I'm really not walking away entirely. I'm really moving into a different role. When you have a passion for what you do, the idea of letting it go is a little bit scary. But I don't have to do that. I really get the best of both worlds."

Jordan comes to Huffy from Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company led by Warren Buffet, where he served as executive director at Fechheimer Brothers in Cincinnati. Jordan has also previously worked as president and CEO of Arctic Cat, GE Water Technologies and Home Depot's THD At-Home Services. Smith said Huffy spent seven months looking for the right person to take his place.

"Claude is a really good fit for Huffy for a couple of reasons. From a chemistry standpoint, we worked really hard to find someone that would fit our organization. We're highly sensitive to our position, we're people sensitive, we're culturally sensitive and we wanted to find a good fit," Smith said. "I wanted someone who could carry on from that perspective, but from a business perspective, Claude's role at Arctic Cat is very relevant. It's a dealer business. Arctic Cat has dealers across the U.S. that face similar issues to the issues our industry faces. And he has retail and consumer perspective from his time at Home Depot as president of its home services division. He's going to be a good fit."

Smith also said he anticipates Jordan will continue Huffy's engagement with the industry, as his work to help bridge the divide between distribution channels is one of Smith's proudest achievements.

"It was deliberate, trying to become a full-fledged member of the industry on the one hand and on the other hand help the industry think more clearly about itself as a single entity without the unnecessary divide between distribution channels," Smith said. "It didn't help either one of us. Look, I have to be honest: Of the many things I've been able to participate in with Huffy over the past few years, being able to be a part of helping to build that bridge may be one of the most satisfying things I've done in my 25 years.

"If I could say anything to (Bicycle Retailer) readers it would be to thank many of them for the many emails of support I've received over the last two years. Many of them I don't think realize how much influence and impact those emails had in driving some of the decisions to figure out a way for Huffy to become closer to the IBD community," Smith added.

Bill Smith (left), who has spent the past 25 years working at Huffy and the last eight as CEO, will retire at the end of December. Claude Jordan will assume leadership of the company.

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