Danaher picks insider Joyce to succeed Culp as only fourth chief executive in 30 years

Longtime Danaher Corp. chief executive H. Lawrence Culp Jr. is retiring in March and will be replaced by 25-year company veteran Thomas P. Joyce Jr., the company announced late Wednesday.

During Culp’s 13 years as chief executive, the District-based manufacturing conglomerate grew fivefold. It has $20 billion in annual revenue and a market capitalization of $50 billion.

Culp was the 18th highest-paid chief executive of a U.S. public company in 2013 with $19.7 million in compensation, according to a New York Times survey published this week.

He will retire March 1 and continue in an advisory role until the first quarter of 2016, Danaher announced.

Joyce began at Danaher in 1989 as a marketing project manager in its tool group, according to the company’s Web site. He was promoted to executive vice president in 2006.

Danaher was founded three decades ago by brothers Mitchell and Steven Rales, reclusive Washington billionaires who named the company after a tributary of the Flathead River in western Montana.

Danaher is an umbrella corporation for companies that produce specialized tools, machines and services for a variety of industries. The corporation is known for its Danaher Business System, an exacting manufacturing culture that models itself on the principles of kaizen, the Japanese word for continuous improvement.

“The selection of Tom to succeed Larry next year reflects the culmination of our succession planning process,” said Danaher chairman Steven Rales. “Tom has a demonstrated track record of success in a wide range of positions at Danaher over the past 25 years, and he is well qualified to lead our continued growth and development. The board believes Tom is the ideal candidate to become just the fourth CEO in the company’s 30-year history.”

Forbes magazine estimates that the Rales brothers’ net worth was more than $3 billion each as of September.

Capital Business is The Post’s weekly publication focusing on the region’s business community. For more Washington business news, go to capbiz.biz.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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