June 26, 2017 – The Onstott Group has placed Bob Willig as president and CEO of Plasan Carbon Composites, a Walker, MI supplier of carbon parts to the automotive industry. Joe Onstott, founder and managing director of the Wellesley, MA-based executive recruitment firm, led the search. Also contributing were Scott Tucker, managing director, and Cullen Onstott, vice president.
The selection of Mr. Willig was the culmination of a three-and-a-half month search in which the Onstott Group ultimately presented four candidates. “We identified a strong pool of suspects from a targeted list of companies,” said Joe Onstott, whose firm counts Plasan Carbon Composites among its standing clients.
Mr. Willig said he was excited to join Plasan during such a vibrant period in the industry. “Our business will continue to design, develop and supply world-class composite products that answer our customers’ needs for strong, lightweight solutions,” he said. “We’ll leverage Plasan’s global process and product capabilities in order to expand into new segments across the transportation industry. My goal is to continue to build on the work of my predecessor in leading growth and operational improvements across the business.”
Mr. Willig replaces James Staargaard, who stepped down for personal reasons. Mr. Staargaard will continue to serve as an adviser to the board on strategic matters.
Before winning the job, Mr. Willig had been president at GKN Driveline Americas. There, he led GKN Driveline in growth across multiple customers and products, boosting both investment efficiency and operational quality, said Plasan. He also opened five facilities in the U.S. and Mexico that contributed to the expansion of the division’s technical capabilities, new product introductions and optimized the organization’s manufacturing footprint, the firm said.
Previously, Mr. Willig was president of GKN Sinter Metals Americas. In that role, he is credited with improving profits, cash and customer satisfaction. He also grew the division at more than twice the rate of the market, Plasan said.
Before GKN, Mr. Willig held leadership positions at Tomkins Plc. (Gates Corp.), where he was president of both the power transmission and automotive operating units. He was also president of Stackpole Ltd., which supplies powder-metal components and engineered pump assemblies. Mr. Willig’s global experience is wide ranging. He has led teams across many cultures, regions and disciplines. And he has been director of boards in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and China.
Mr. Willig’s bachelor’s degree, in mechanical engineering, is from Lawrence Technological University. He also holds an MBA from Wayne State University.
Among the requirements for the president and CEO role at Plasan, the firm sought candidates with international experience in working with a foreign owned company. Plasan SASA, the parent company to Plasan Carbon Composites, is based in Israel.
Plasan Carbon Composites, which supplies carbon fiber-reinforced composite components for the auto market, also wanted a technical leader with an engineering background well versed in working with customers in the automotive sector, said Mr. Onstott. Further requirements were experience in the automotive space as well as past leadership of an organization of more than 500 people.
This was a role that called for 15 to 20 years experience in the automotive market, including significant P&L experience, said Mr. Onstott. The ideal candidate would have created and executed a strategic plan to grow a low margin business through new technologies and new market opportunities, among other factors.
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The Onstott Group serves the recruitment needs of businesses across a number of sectors, including aerospace/defense, technology, healthcare, pharmaceutical, biotech, manufacturing, consumer, business services, non-profit, higher education, venture capital, private equity and high growth companies. Located in the greater Boston area and Greenwich, CT, the firm has filled senior level roles for clients including American Science & Engineering; MorphoTrust USA; Dyn; Paytronix Systems; Valore; Vicon Industries; Demandware; Welch’s; Bose Corporation; and Direct Energy, among a host of others.
Mr. Onstott, who founded The Onstott Group in 1987, has over 28 years of experience in the technology sector. He is an advisor to many CEOs and boards of directors, assisting them in strategically building their companies. His search practice has focused on recruiting board members, CEOs, and executive teams for early stage, high growth, and turnaround businesses in enterprise software, communications, ecommerce, media, defense, security, and business services.
Mr. Tucker has over 15 years of business acumen in training, marketing and sales. He has experience with both early stage and Fortune 500 companies. During his tenure at The Onstott Group, he has completed a myriad of search assignments, ranging from president roles to C-level and vice president positions in sales & marketing, finance, operations and human resources. Mr. Tucker focuses on identifying executives within technology, software, renewable energy, high growth and portfolio companies within venture capital and private equity firms.
Cullen Onstott joined the firm several months ago and is based in Houston. He was previously an energy trader at DTE Energy Trading. “Pat Campbell and I are very pleased to have our son Cullen join the business,” said Joe Onstott, founder and managing director of the firm. “He brings a fresh perspective, a keen knowledge of digital media, strong analytical skills, and good executive presence.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media