New name and a new CEO
It was a big news day Tuesday for Newport News-based Ferguson, with its United Kingdom parent company announcing a name change, a new CEO and rising sales.
Wolseley plc, the world’s largest distributor of plumbing and heating products to contractors, said it is changing its name to Ferguson plc, subject to shareholder approval. The company said Ferguson is the most significant brand in the Wolseley Group of companies and accounts for 84 percent of the Wolseley’s profits.
“We are proud to have the Wolseley Group adopt the Ferguson name. We have built a very strong brand over the last 64 years and are known for our performance reputation,” Ferguson CEO Frank Roach, said in a statement. “The Ferguson name best represents the group today, and will help create greater shareholder interest in the U.S.”
Effective Aug. 1, new Ferguson plc will report its financial results in U.S. dollars. The company said it would remain listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The company also announced that Roach would retire on July 31. Current Ferguson Chief Operating Officer Kevin Murphy will assume the role of CEO effective Aug. 1. Roach became CEO of Wolseley’s North American Division in 2006. In 2009, he assumed additional responsibilities as chief executive officer of Ferguson.
Murphy joined Ferguson in 1999 through the acquisition of his family’s business, Midwest Pipe and Supply. He has served in a variety of leadership roles and was appointed as Ferguson’s chief operating officer in 2007.
In other news, Ferguson reported fiscal 2017 half-year sales growth of 9.9 percent. The company said it increased its revenue 5.4 percent on a like-for-like basis, which measures growth of Ferguson’s existing stores or branches open for at least one year. Acquisitions contributed 2.5 percent of additional revenue growth, with remaining growth from new locations and two additional sales days this year.
Ferguson increased its market share in all of its major businesses. The company completed six acquisitions during the first-half of fiscal year 2017.