Under the company's plan of succession, Thomas Sullivan will remain a member of the company's board of directors.
James A. Karman, RPM's vice chairman and former president, also has retired, the company announced. Karman, who joined RPM in 1963 and was president from 1973 to 1999, remains a member of the RPM board.
"It's been a remarkable and rewarding ride for Jim Karman and me," said Thomas Sullivan, who also is the current chairman of the National Paint & Coatings Association. "As our era ends, I feel especially positive about the caliber of the management team that will assume our responsibilities. Through the years, we have adhered to our practice of hiring and keeping the best people, and the result is a talented group of leaders who are well prepared to manage RPM's continuing growth."
Frank Sullivan said he was taking the helm of a company that owns "a great portfolio of leading brands, top market-share positions and good balance between the industrial and consumer markets we serve." He said the company's management and employees "have delivered, and will continue to deliver, RPM's proven strategy of organic and acquisition-led growth."
Under the leadership of Thomas Sullivan and Karman, RPM grew to become a major manufacturer of specialty coatings for the industrial and consumer markets, as sales expanded from approximately $11 million in fiscal 1971 to approximately $2 billion in fiscal 2002.
Frank Sullivan joined RPM's corporate leadership in 1989 as director of Corporate Development and has held the positions of chief financial officer, president and chief operating officer. He played a major role in the company's recent restructuring program, which involved consolidation of manufacturing facilities and a work-force reduction. Previously, he was a regional sales manager for AGR Co., an RPM joint-venture company.
Thomas Sullivan started at RPM as a divisional sales manager in 1961 and subsequently held the positions of vice president, executive vice president and president before being named chairman and CEO following the death of his father, Frank, in 1971.
RPM also announced the election of Ronald A. Rice as senior vice president-Administration, and said general counsel and secretary P. Kelly Tompkins has also been elected a senior vice president.
Rice, who remains assistant corporate secretary, joined RPM in 1995 and has held the positions of vice president-Risk Management and Benefits, director of Risk Management and Employee Benefits, and director of Benefits. He previously held various positions with The Wyatt Co. Tompkins joined RPM in 1996 as assistant general counsel, and in 1998 was named vice president, general counsel and secretary. He previously held various positions with Reliance Electric Co.