Christopher Mapes will become Lincoln Electric's president and chief executive officer at the end of

Christopher Mapes will become Lincoln Electric's president and chief executive officer at the end of 2012.

Lincoln Electric said current chief operating officer (COO) Christopher Mapes will take over as president and chief executive officer (CEO) at the end of the year, replacing CEO and chairman John Stropki Jr who will become executive chairman of the board.

Mr Mapes has been Lincoln's COO since 1 September 2011 and a member of the board of directors since February 2010. Before joining Lincoln he had a 25 year career in industrial manufacturing with General Motors and the electrical products division of A.O. Smith Corp.

"This leadership transition is a direct result of the Board's and John's conscientious focus on developing a deep, talented and experienced management team at Lincoln Electric," said Harold Adams, lead director and chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee.

"Chris has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, strategic insight and operational expertise during his time as a director and as a member of the company's executive management team, with responsibility for all of Lincoln's global businesses and product development initiatives."

Mr Stropki has been Lincoln's chairman, president and CEO since 2004 and joined Lincoln in 1972. He said Lincoln had a "dynamic and powerful strategy in place with our 2020 Vision - a vision that we expect to drive significant accomplishments on a number of important fronts, including targeted compound annual growth of 10% or more in sales and a return on invested capital in excess of 15% through 2020."

Lincoln Electric is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a leader in the design and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment. It has 45 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 20 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices.

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