Vulcan CEO Hill named chairman as retiring James seals succession plan

Sources: Vulcan Materials, Birmingham, Ala.; CP staff

Vulcan Materials Chairman Don James is retiring at year’s end, capping nearly two decades on the executive team and consummating a leadership transition to Tom Hill, who adds the chairman’s post 18 months after becoming president and chief executive officer.

James served as president from 1996–1997, CEO and chairman from 1997–2014, and non-executive chairman this year. His track record spans value-creating and tactical maneuvers that have kept Vulcan Materials a publicly traded operator with a deep, narrow portfolio of aggregate production sites and reserves, plus integrated ready mixed and asphalt operations in select markets. Vulcan stock trading at $20 in 1997, just after he took the helm, has hovered the $100/share level in late 2015. In the latter half of James’ tenure, Vulcan executed financial and legal strategies resulting in the 2007 Florida Rock Industries merger and successful challenge to Martin Marietta Materials’ stock-for-stock merger proposal four years later.

Vulcan Lead Director James Prokopanko credits his outgoing chairman with guiding the company “through periods of strong growth as well as difficult market downturns, always with a keen eye on customer service, creating opportunities for employees and building sustainable, long term value for shareholders … Actions taken by Don and the management team in recent years to increase operational efficiency, de-risk the balance sheet and maintain disciplined growth have positioned Vulcan to deliver increasingly stronger returns.”

“With the building materials market continuing to expand, the enactment of a new multi-year federal highway program and the company performing exceptionally well, now is the right time to complete the succession process,” says James, adding that under the leadership of Hill and his executive team of John McPherson, Stan Bass and Michael Mills, Vulcan “is executing skillfully on the strategic plan and delivering strong growth and increased profitability.”

“Vulcan is a great business with strategic market positions in the largest, fastest growing metropolitan areas across the country, extensive and unmatched aggregates reserves, and a strong financial position,” adds Hill. “Under Don’s leadership, Vulcan has seen remarkable growth in these strategically important markets and is well positioned for strong performance.”