President, CEO and Chairman of Airgas' board of directors, Peter McCausland was a guest speaker at today's opening session of the 67th Gas and Welding Distributors Association annual convention, in New York, NY, US.

McCausland detailed the company's rise to prominence to become the $4.5bn revenue behemoth it is today. He told the audience that competition from well-run, independent distributors - many of whom were present - still "kept him awake at night."

Despite having some 11% of US atmospheric gases production, he said Airgas remains "a distribution company at heart."

McCausland also reflected on last year's unwelcome takeover bid from Air Products, which he said was opportunistic, citing moves in September 2010 to place Air Products directors on the Airgas board as his "darkest hour."

Asked if he would consider retirement any time soon, McCausland said he had no plans yet, but that the company took its succession plans "very seriously."