Hypertherm Announces 2024 CEO Succession Plan

Board of directors selects Aaron Brandt to step in for Evan Smith, who’s retiring this year…

Industrial cutting systems and software manufacturer Hypertherm Associates has announced that Aaron Brandt, EVP of Technology, will succeed Evan Smith, CEO, upon Smith’s planned retirement at the end of 2024.

Brandt will become the third CEO since Hypertherm Associates’ founding in 1968, following co-founder Dick Couch, who served in the role from 1968-2014, and Smith, who succeeded Couch.

“The entire Hypertherm Associates board of directors has the utmost confidence in Aaron to guide the company on its continued path as an industry-leading organization,” said Rich Lettieri, chair, board of directors. “He has demonstrated genuine commitment to innovation, customer success and values-focused leadership. He exemplifies the Hypertherm Associates’ culture of customer-focused innovation and prioritization of the wellbeing and development of our associates.”

Brandt earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. He joined the company 25 years ago, starting as a research and design engineer and progressing to both engineering and business leadership roles.

He has served as general manager for the heavy industrial plasma business and as executive leader for the software, waterjet, and laser consumables businesses. In 2019, he founded the Hypertherm Ventures practice as a critical component of the company’s advanced manufacturing technology development strategy.

During 2024, Smith will continue in his role as CEO, while Brandt takes on the position of president and chief operating officer (COO). The planned transition year will include staged transfer of strategic leadership responsibilities as well as recognition of Smith’s tenure.

“Each leader brings new perspective and energy, and Evan’s influence has successfully advanced the Hypertherm Associates vision to produce long-term benefits for our customers, our associate owners and the communities in which we operate,” said Couch, co-founder and board chair emeritus. “I am deeply grateful to Evan for taking that vision to heart and leading with great confidence.”

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