Ajita Rajendra featured in FORTUNE Magazine

News Item   carrying the title “Sri Lankan in Fortune’s 2016 top 50 Business persons of the year


To be considered in Fortune magazine’s top 50 business persons of the year is a huge honour considering the weight of the other names like Mark Zuckerberg of Face Book, Jeff Bezon of Amazon, Larry Page of Google, Tim Cook of Apple and so on.Featured in this year’s list at position 34 is a Sri Lankan — Ajita Rajendra. Fortune states “In his four years as CEO of this Milwaukee-based maker of water heaters (A. O. Smith & CO , Rajendra has kept the company boiling hot, doubling profits and nearly tripling the company’s stock price with strong growth in North America and China”.

Ajita Rajendra is the son of M. Rajendra who was the head of the Treasury in Sri Lanka in the sixties. He is the nephew of former Minister M. Tiruchelvam. In contrast to today’s world of bond scams, M. Rajendra was a public servant of the old school reputed for his integrity and honesty to the extent that he reportedly refused to remit his sons full school fees to India because it would exceed the amount permitted by the prevailing laws of the day!

Rajendra had his schooling at St Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia and a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. His distinguished career in St Thomas’ included a place in the schools Rugby team and Athletics team.

Ajita Rajendra joined A. O. Smith in January 2005. He was named as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on April 7, 2014, the ninth CEO in the company’s history. His primary responsibilities include strategy development and implementation, profitability, and shareholder returns. He previously held the positions of President and Chief Executive Officer and President and Chief Operating Officer, responsible for A. O. Smith’s water heater operations in North America, China, Europe, and India, as well as the company’s water purification business in China and the Lochinvar global boiler business. He also serves on the board of other listed companies in the US.

O. Smith Corporation, with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis., is a global leader applying innovative technology and energy-efficient solutions to products marketed worldwide. The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential and commercial water heating equipment, offering a comprehensive product line featuring the best-known brands in North America and China.

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ajit-rajpaksaExecutive Profile*

Ajita G. Rajendra

Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President,A. O. Smith Corporation
Age Total Calculated Compensation This person is connected to 51 board members in 5 different organizations across 8 different industries.

See Board Relationships

64 $7,010,274
As of Fiscal Year 2015


Mr. Ajita G. Rajendra has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of A.O. Smith Corporation since January 1, 2013 and September 1, 2011 respectively and has also been its Chairman since April 7, 2014. Mr. Rajendra serves as the President of State Industries, Inc. He served as the President of A.O. Smith Water Products Company from 2005 to 2011. He serves as Vice President of The Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute. He served as the Chief Operating Officer of AO Smith Corp. since September 1, 2011 until 2012. He served as an Executive Vice President of AO Smith Corp. since 2006. He served as the President of Water Systems of AO Smith Corp. since January 2005 and also its Senior Vice President from 2005 to 2006. He served as Senior Vice President of Industrial Products Group at Kennametal Inc., from 1998 to 2005. He served as General Manager of Industrial Products Group since 1997. He served as Vice President of Kennametal Inc., since 1998. Mr. Rajendra served as the Vice President of Electronics Products Group of Kennametal Industrial Products Group from July 1996 to 1997. From 1979 to 1994, he worked in various capacities at Corning Inc. He served as Director of Retail Operations & Development at Corning Inc. from 1994 to 1996, Business Director of Corning-Cookware from 1993 to 1994 and also served as its General Manager. He served as the President of Revereware Corporation from 1991 to 1993. He has been an Independent Director at Donaldson Company, Inc. since March 2010. Mr. Rajendra serves as a Director of State Industries Inc. He has been a Director of AO Smith Corp. since December 2011. He has been an Independent Director of The Timken Company since August 05, 2014. He serves as a Director of The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. Mr. Rajendra served as an Independent Director of Industrial Distribution Group Inc. from May 2007 to August 2008. He received Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and Master’s of Business Administration from Carnegie-Mellon University. Mr. Rajendra also completed the Advanced Management Program from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.

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Milwaukee, Wis. — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of A. O. Smith Corporation, Ajita Rajendra, was recently named in Fortune Magazine’s 2016 Businessperson of the Year list. Rajendra was number 34 on the list of 50 CEOs. In order to select who ultimately gets placed on the list of the top 50 CEOs, Fortune Magazine looks at how CEOs are influencing business and whether they take bold, visionary steps.  They also parse and rank companies by 12- and 36-month increases in profits, revenues, and stock performance, and factor in return on capital and debt.    

“It’s a great honor to be named in Fortune Magazine’s 2016 Businessperson of the Year list alongside CEOs from Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft among other iconic companies. The hard work and dedication of all A. O. Smith employees, along with our focus on values and our customers have had a direct impact on our steady growth in the past few years and this award appropriately recognizes all A. O. Smith employees worldwide for that commitment,” said Rajendra.

The ninth CEO in the company’s history, Rajendra was named CEO of A. O. Smith Corporation on Jan. 1, 2013.  Under Rajendra’s leadership, the company’s profitable growth contributed to a five-year cumulative total stock return of 427 percent as of Nov. 30, 2016, and consistent record sales and earnings.  Rajendra was instrumental in driving several acquisitions; most notably the purchase of leading manufacturer of high-efficiency boilers and water heating equipment, Lochinvar in 2011, and just recently the purchase of water purification company, Aquasana in August 2016.  In addition, Rajendra also helped introduce water treatment to the India market in 2010.

Rajendra received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, where he was recognized with its Distinguished Alumnus award in 2015. Rajendra also earned an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School.

Rajendra joined A. O. Smith in 2005 as president of its Water Products Company and was named an executive vice president of the corporation in 2006. In 2011, Rajendra was elected to the A. O. Smith board of directors and was named president and chief operating officer.

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One response to “Ajita Rajendra featured in FORTUNE Magazine

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