May 10, 2023
Current™ Appoints Steve Harris as New CEO
CEO from affiliated company tapped to lead $1 billion lighting company
Current™ has appointed Steve Harris as its new Chief Executive Officer, succeeding interim CEO Bill Tolley. Harris, an established business leader is recognized for his operational prowess, was most recently Executive Chairman of Shape Technologies Group in Kent, Washington. The change will be effective May 30.
Ten weeks ago, Current™ announced a leadership change appointing Bill Tolley as its Interim CEO. The company explained that departing CEO Manish Bhandari was instrumental in leading the company through the pandemic and a transformative acquisition of Hubbell’s C&I Lighting business. Tolley, who has a long Hubbell, Inc. executive pedigree, will remain with Current™ as Chairman of the Board.
In a company announcement, Tolley shared, “Steve is a strong force in the commercial space. He is an experienced CEO known for hands-on operational changes, which is what we need. His leadership will accelerate Current and position the company as best in class in the lighting and controls industry.”
Steve Harris: Industrial Pedigree and Known by Current™ Ownership
Harris has recent executive experience in the industrial sector. He was president and CEO of Shape Technologies Group for nearly ten years before transitioning to Executive Chairman in March. Shape Technologies Group is a manufacturer of ultra-high pressure pumps, waterjet cutting systems, and integrated robotic automation solutions.
Shape Technologies is also a portfolio company of New York private equity firm, American Industrial Partners – the same private equity firm that owns Current™. American Industrial Partners states that Harris’ former company, Shape Technologies has 1,343 employees and generates $452 million in revenue. Current™ employs 4,415 and cites $1.04 billion in revenue.
Harris takes the helm at Current™ when there seems to be major changes occurring with the company every couple of years.
General Electric sold the Current, powered by GE commercial lighting business to American Industrial Partners in 2019.
After the acquisition, American Industrial Partners cited Current™ revenues as $940 million.
In late 2021, with reported revenues down to $630 million, the company announced that it was acquiring Hubbell Lighting – a company that was generating $550 million in revenue at the time.
The Hubbell Lighting price tag was $350 million.
Putting that in perspective, in 2008, Hubbell acquired architectural lighting company Kurt Versen for $100 million.
The Current™ GLI and HLI brands now combine for a reported $1.04 billion in revenue.
Hubbell Lighting and Current were separate companies in 2021. Current™ completed the acquisition of Hubbell Inc.'s commercial and industrial (C&I) lighting business on February 1, 2022. The revenue numbers above were sourced from American Industrial Partners and Current™.
As Harris settles into his new role, and the company emphasizes his operational muscle, we look forward to seeing how the new leadership change will affect the company's future stability and trajectory.
American Industrial Partners is known to hold onto portfolio companies for 5 years, 10 years or more, so we trust that Harris’ main mission will be to stabilize and grow the brands moving forward – a worthy goal whether American Industrial Partners wants to hold on to Current™ long term, or navigate towards a profitable exit.
More on Harris:
Harris received a master’s degree in business from Oakland University and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Lawrence Technical University.
The Current™ announcement shared the following from Harris, “I couldn’t be more excited to join Current. They have an unmatched legacy of product innovation. But more importantly, their ongoing commitment to reshape the lighting and controls industry provides a unique opportunity to give customers more of what they want. This is a company poised for great things, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”