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Whirlpool’s Swift Resigns; Todman Named President

Benton Harbor, Mich. – Beleaguered Whirlpool president David Swift has resigned after running the company’s North American operations for nearly six years. He has been succeeded by the man he originally replaced, Michael Todman, who has since headed Whirlpool’s European and global businesses.

Swift’s departure follows a trying period for the world’s largest majap maker, as the daunting integration of its Maytag acquisition, higher raw materials costs, and a dramatic downturn in the U.S. white goods market have impacted company earnings. Indeed, operating profit for the North American unit fell 19 percent to $159 million during the first quarter, ended March 31.

“Dave Swift has contributed a great deal to our company during his five and a half years at Whirlpool,” said chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig in a statement. “Dave played a critical leadership role in overseeing the successful integration of the Maytag business into our company. Given that this integration is now largely complete, I respect Dave’s decision to now pursue his long-term career aspirations outside of our company. I appreciate Dave’s contribution to the success of Whirlpool.”

Swift, an industry outsider with a background in marketing, joined Whirlpool as executive VP/North America in 2001 after 20 years with Eastman Kodak.

His successor, Mike Todman, was named executive VP and later president of Whirlpool Europe after Swift assumed his post in North America, a position he held for seven months. Four years later he was promoted to president of Whirlpool International and named to the company’s board. He joined Whirlpool in 1993 as finance director for the United Kingdom operation, and before that spent 10 years at Wang Laboratories.

In a statement, Fettig described Todman as “an experienced global leader with a strong track record of performance in leading major parts of our global business… I am confident that he will provide great leadership for our North American business as we capitalize on the benefits from the Maytag acquisition and continue our focus on growth by providing innovative products and services to our customers under our leading brand names.”

Todman is being succeeded as president of Whirlpool International by Paulo F.M.O. Periquito, currently a corporate executive VP and president of Whirlpool Latin America.