Polaris Industries Inc. has announced that Michael Malone, age 56, has declared his intention to retire as Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer effective August 3, but has agreed to stay on into early 2016 to assume the newly-formed role of Executive Vice President, Polaris Financial Services. Polaris has also announced Michael Speetzen has been appointed Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer, effective August 3, replacing the retiring Mike Malone. Speetzen has been CFO of Xylem Inc. since 2011, leading the finance organization of a company that does business in more than 150 countries and generated 2014 revenue of more than $3.9B.
“Mike (Malone) has over 30 years of distinguished service with Polaris, and his contributions to our growth and our culture are innumerable in scope and inestimable in value,” said Scott Wine, Polaris Chairman and CEO. “In an era where the average CFO tenure is about six years, Mike’s 19 years as the financial steward of Polaris are quite remarkable. He joined Polaris in 1984 with an audit background, quickly mastered treasury and has amassed a depth and breadth of global corporate finance experience that has been vital to Polaris’ sustained financial success.”
Wine continued, “His conservative nature and unwavering integrity established Polaris’ financial culture, and his leadership and commitment to talent will support our success for years to come, while his ironclad devotion to improving our company is indelibly stamped on nearly every stage of Polaris’ history. Mike’s commitment to Polaris is further highlighted by his willingness to postpone his retirement and take on the challenge of navigating an unprecedented period of change and complexity in our retail and wholesale financing businesses.”
In over three decades with Polaris, Malone has held various roles of increasing responsibility. He joined the company in 1984 after four years with Arthur Andersen LLP in Minneapolis. He rose through several positions over the next nine years, before his promotion to Vice President and Treasurer of Polaris in January 1993. He held this role until he assumed the Vice President- Finance and Chief Financial Officer position in January 1997.
During Mike’s tenure Polaris has changed dramatically; he began as part of a 20 person finance team and now leads a global organization numbering over 200. Over that time, Polaris’ annual sales have grown from about $50M to nearly $5B, and the stock price now sits near $150, up almost 9000% from its value of $1.67 when Malone drove the Initial Public Offering in 1987. Mike was instrumental in establishing the innovative Polaris Acceptance joint venture structure with GE for U.S. dealer financing in 1997.
“I am truly honored and humbled to have been given the opportunity to lead the finance team and the responsibility to provide value to all Polaris stakeholders for an extended period of time. I am looking forward to enjoying the next stage of my life in retirement with the same passion I have had for the Polaris business the past 30 years,” said Malone.
Prior to Speetzen’s role as CFO at Xylem Inc., a publicly-traded spinoff of ITT Corporation’s water services businesses, he served as CFO of ITT Fluid and Motion Controls. From 2007 to 2009 Speetzen was CFO of StandardAero, a privately-owned aerospace company. Mike spent 12 years in positions of increasing responsibility with Honeywell International, formerly AlliedSignal.
“Mike Speetzen has just about done it all in his 20+ years as a finance professional and business leader. He has taken a spinoff company public, championed billions of dollars’ worth of M&A activity, mastered the intricacies of transacting international business, developed tremendous capital market and treasury insight, and generated significant stakeholder value for both public and private corporations,” said Scott Wine, Polaris Chairman and CEO. “Mike’s combination of world-class financial planning and analysis, strategic acumen and strong leadership will play a huge role in Polaris’ continued growth, and his proven commitment to improving the bottom line will ensure that we meet our strategic objective of profitable growth.”
Wine continued, “We are extremely grateful for the extraordinary career and significant contributions of Mike Malone, who has announced his intention to retire after over 30 years with Polaris, and are confident that Speetzen will hit the ground running thanks to the strong team and robust financial systems and processes developed, implemented and refined during the Malone era.”