Rust-Oleum Acquires Abrasives Supplier, Names New President


Two days apart, Rust-Oleum announced an acquisition and that it has new leadership.

On Sept. 1, the protective paints, coatings and sandpaper maker said via its parent company, RPM International, that it has acquired sandpaper and other abrasives manufacturer Ali Industries.

Doing business as Gator Finishing Products, Ali is headquartered in Fairborn, OH with annual sales of about $75 million. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rust-Oleum describes Ali Industries as supplier of finishing products for power sanding, hand sanding, cutting and grinding and floor sanding, with its products used on surfaces including wood, metal and paint. The company sells through recognized brand names including Gator, Finish 1st and Zip Sander. Its products are produced in the US and distributed across North America through home improvement centers, mass merchandisers, hardware, paint and automotive supply stores.

Ali Industries will be a free-standing unit under Rust-Oleum, while brothers Terry Ali, Chris Ali and Philip Ali will continue leading the business.

"Ali Industries is an excellent synergistic fit within our Consumer Group because it broadens the segment’s surface preparation capabilities by adding abrasives to our lineup of patch, repair and cleaning products," said Frank Sullivan, RPM chairman and CEO. "Through this transaction, we plan to enhance Ali’s distribution base and enable the business to penetrate new markets. This acquisition presents significant opportunities to build even stronger relationships with key retailers and further deliver on customer needs."

RPM International Inc. owns subsidiaries that specialize in coatings, sealants, building materials and related services. The company operates across four reportable segments: consumer, construction products, performance coatings and specialty products.

Two days later, Rust-Oleum announced that 21-year company veteran Bill Spaulding has been named its new president, replacing the retiring president and CEO Ed Voorhees. The transition was effective Aug. 31.

Spaulding most recently held the position of Rust-Oleum North America president. The company said Spaulding has led several initiatives across the organization, including product innovation, building and maintaining relationships with customers and managing more than 65 different brands.

"Ed has been the architect of our culture – he’s built it, fosters it and embodies it,” Spaulding said. “He has inspired me to be a better leader through his dedication and passion for Rust-Oleum, our associates and his respect for our heritage.”

Voorhees began his career at Rust-Oleum as key accounts/district manager and continued to move up the ranks as national account executive, vice president of national accounts, senior vice president of sales, senior vice president of sales & marketing, president of sales and marketing, and president of Rust-Oleum North America. He was named CEO in 2018.

“Bill is future-focused, sharp and brings years of proven leadership,” Voorhees said. “The timing is perfect and I’m confident Bill can take us to the next level.”

Spaulding graduated from Indiana University, with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He also received a master of business administration degree from Northern Illinois University.

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