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Region: The Americas

UL, Underwriters Laboratories announce leadership succession

Keith Williams to retire as President and CEO after 15 years of service; Jennifer Scanlon to become President and CEO of UL – the first woman to lead 125-year-old organization; Terrence Brady to become president and CEO of Underwriters Laboratories

Jennifer Scanlon

NORTHBROOK, Illinois, United States, 24 September 2019: UL and parent company, Underwriters Laboratories on September 23 announced through a Press release that Keith Williams has decided to retire as President and CEO, after 15 years of service. Williams will continue to support each organization through an interim period to ensure a smooth transition, the release added.

According to the release, the UL Board of Directors has appointed Jennifer Scanlon as President and CEO of UL and as a member of the UL Board of Directors, effective September 30, 2019. Scanlon most recently served as President, CEO and a Director of USG Corporation, a 116-year-old innovative building products manufacturer and one of UL’s oldest clients. Over her 16-year career at USG, Scanlon led the company through some of its most significant strategic moves, including establishing the global joint venture, USG Boral Building Products, and divesting L&W Supply, the release said. In 2018, she negotiated the sale of USG to Knauf for USD 7 billion, which represented a 76% premium to the company’s stock price compared to when Scanlon was named CEO, the release added. The transaction closed April 24, 2019. She is the first woman to serve as president and CEO of UL.


James Shannon, Chair of the UL Board of Directors and of the Underwriters Laboratories Board of Trustees, said: “Jenny brings exceptional integrity, experience, talent and technology expertise to UL. A Chicago-area native, Jenny also has a global perspective that is certain to benefit UL, having previously led USG’s 8,000 employees around the world. Given her dedication to safety and innovation and her demonstrated success in growing a global business, we are confident she is the right leader for UL at this time.”


Speaking in response to the appointment, Scanlon said: “It is an honor to be joining UL, as technological advances continue to drive dramatic changes in UL’s clients’ operations. As a mission-driven organization with a record of innovation, UL is in a unique position to assist our clients in enabling the safe adoption of their products. I look forward to working with UL’s 14,000 talented associates around the world to advance our capabilities and build on UL’s 125-year legacy of safety and trust.”


Underwriters Laboratories also announced through the release that its board of trustees has appointed Terrence Brady, currently President of Underwriters Laboratories, as President and CEO of Underwriters Laboratories, effective January 1, 2020, upon Williams’ retirement from that role. Brady will continue to lead the transformation of the 125-year-old non-profit organization to become the world’s leading safety science research and standards development institution, the release said.


Shannon said: “Given Terry’s strong track record at our organization, we know that he will continue to be a significant asset as the new President and CEO of Underwriters Laboratories. At Underwriters Laboratories, Terry has excelled in all of his leadership positions, helping to develop our strategy and drive its execution. Terry’s first-hand knowledge of Underwriters Laboratories, its history, mission and opportunities will serve Underwriters Laboratories and its stakeholders well.”

Brady said: “For 125 years, Underwriters Laboratories has strived to instill trust through the science of safety. I am excited to build on this heritage as President and CEO to further the trust in our organization, which will remain key to our success. Ground-breaking safety research, standards development and outreach all continue to be priorities as we look to collaborate with our stakeholders to make the world a safer place.”


Speaking about Williams’ tenure at, and retirement from, UL and Underwriters Laboratories, Shannon said, “In his 15 years with our organization, Keith has made significant, long-lasting contributions that have enabled us to successfully extend our safety mission around the world. Today, UL and Underwriters Laboratories each benefit from a strong operating foundation to support their respective growth and leadership well into the future. We wish Keith the best in his retirement and also offer our deep gratitude for his dedication and service to UL and Underwriters Laboratories.”


Williams said, “I am proud of all that we have accomplished over the past years and thank the outstanding associates across UL and Underwriters Laboratories who have joined me in transforming – and strengthening – our organization. I pass the baton to the next generation of leadership knowing that we are better positioned than ever to help advance innovation and solve the critical safety, quality, security and sustainability challenges around the world.”

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