Information technology and industrial automation company Rockwell Automation on Tuesday named Nicholas Gangestad CFO, effective March 1.
Gangestad will join Rockwell after 35 years with engineering corporation 3M, where he had been CFO since 2014. He will report to Rockwell Chairman and CEO Blake Moret.
"As the new CFO, my focus will be on working with Chairman and CEO Blake Moret and the executive leadership team to ensure we build [Rockwell's] impressive track record," Gangestad told CFO Dive. "Rockwell is the best in its industry. I'm excited by the opportunity to help build on that."
Gangestad will replace Steve Etzel, who has been serving as interim CFO since October 2020, when former CFO Patrick Goris announced he would be moving into the CFO role at Carrier Global Corp.
"Nick's leadership experience, strong finance background, and deep understanding of our industrial customers will help Rockwell Automation drive its strategic vision and accelerate profitable growth," Moret said in a statement.
As 3M CFO, Gangestad oversaw compliance, financial planning, treasury and tax. Prior to his 2014 promotion to CFO, he served in a variety of finance positions, including chief accounting officer, corporate controller, and also held global finance management roles in which he oversaw teams and developing talent in Canada, Latin America, and Asia.
"[Rockwell] has already accomplished so much as a leader in industrial automation, and I'm very excited to be joining at a time when software is becoming an increasingly important part of the business," Gangestad said in a statement. "I'm energized by Rockwell's people, its mission and its strategies to improve productivity and sustainability for its customers."
Etzel, a 30-year company veteran, postponed his previously announced retirement to fill the interim role while the company searched for Goris's successor.
"Steve's steady, thoughtful contributions to Rockwell and our stakeholders have been well-recognized for many years," Moret said. "His willingness to step up during our CFO transition has been especially appreciated."
The transition will require a change of thinking, Gangestad told CFO Dive. "3M competes in multiple markets and industries, while Rockwell is focused on industrial automation," he said.
But the roles will share many similarities, he added, including the imperative of maintaining strong integrity in financial reporting, controls, risk management and compliance.
"I retired from 3M after a 35-year career at the company," Gangestad said. "My long-held plan was to retire while young enough to explore other things. The Rockwell CFO job came to my attention a few months after retiring, and I found the opportunity compelling and exciting, so much so that I decided to come out of retirement and join this team."
In his first 90 days on the job, Gangestad hopes to gain a deeper understanding of Rockwell's products, technologies and strategies. "Maintaining strong integrity in financial reporting, controls, risk management, and compliance will also be a priority, as will developing current and future leaders in the company," he said.
In line with a growing trend, as CFO, Gangestad anticipates maintaining some form of leadership within ESG efforts.
"Sustainability performance is a growing priority for finance leaders as the data increasingly indicates that ESG variables are good performance indicators," he said, adding that Rockwell recently rolled out a new sustainability strategy and carbon neutrality goal. "I anticipate ESG performance will continue to be a key companywide priority at Rockwell, including for me and members of my team."