By Tim Ryan

Stihl Inc., a leading outdoor power equipment manufacturer based in Virginia Beach, has announced a key leadership transition less than a year after Terry Horan assumed the roles of President and CEO. Chris Keffer, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, is set to take over the helm on August 4, while Horan has been appointed to the company’s board of directors.

The change was announced last Friday by Stihl Inc., the largest subsidiary of the international Stihl Group that employs over 1,900 staff in Virginia Beach. The company expressed its gratitude towards Horan for his exceptional leadership contributions. “Terry has the heartfelt thanks of the Stihl family,” said Nikolas Stihl, the Chair of the Stihl Group advisory and supervisory board. “His dedication towards building a robust leadership team and focusing on a unified organizational vision has set the groundwork for considerable growth.”

Roger Phelps, Stihl’s spokesperson, shared with Virginia Business that the change in Horan’s role was a considered decision made in consultation with the executive board, aligning with the company’s broader succession strategy. Chris Keffer, who joined Stihl in April 2022, has been instrumental in leading the company’s transition towards battery-powered equipment. Keffer brings in nearly two decades of experience from Stanley Black & Decker Inc., where he was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Stihl’s commitment to eco-friendly practices is evident in its recent partnership with the American Green Zone Alliance to promote battery-electric transition training and education. “The USA is our most significant market worldwide,” said Michael Traub, Stihl’s Executive Board Chairman. He further added, “Chris, with his innovative approach and in-depth market knowledge, is well-positioned to continue Stihl’s dominance across all our markets.”

In 2021, Stihl saw the departure of its U.S.-based President of Operations, Bjoern Fischer, and Nick Jiannas, Vice President of U.S. Sales and Marketing. Terry Horan was selected as their successor after an extensive search process. Horan, reflecting on his time at Stihl, stated, “Working on this marquee brand has been the pinnacle of my 37-year professional career.”

Before joining Stihl, Keffer was the President of Product Management for Stanley Black & Decker’s power tools group. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and an executive MBA from Loyola University Maryland, Keffer thanked the Stihl board for their trust in him. “We see tremendous opportunity in our future,” he expressed. “We have the resources and the partnerships to strengthen our position as the leading authority in both gas and battery outdoor power equipment markets.”