Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. has announced that John M. Stropki, Jr., 61, who has been chairman, president and CEO since 2004, will become executive chairman of the Board, and Christopher L. Mapes, 50, will be named president and CEO of the company.

Both changes are effective December 31, 2012.

As executive chairman, Stropki will work closely with Mapes to ensure a seamless transition for Lincoln Electric’s shareholders, global employee base, key customers, industry associations, and community and government relationships – including Lincoln’s global headquarters’ community in Cleveland, OH.

“This leadership transition is a direct result of the Board’s and John’s conscientious focus on developing a deep, talented and experienced management team at Lincoln Electric,” explained Harold L. Adams, lead director and chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

Stropki spoke enthusiastically about the company and its future direction, adding, “It has been a distinct honor and privilege to work with our dedicated Board, loyal employees and global management team as we have focused on a strategy of consistent growth, market leadership and operational excellence, in order to better serve all of our global channel partners.”

“We have a dynamic and powerful strategy in place with our 2020 Vision – a vision that we expect to drive significant accomplishments on a number of important fronts, including targeted compound annual growth of 10 percent or more in sales and a return on invested capital in excess of 15 percent through 2020. I am proud of our collective achievements and am fully confident that Chris is the right person to lead Lincoln Electric into its exciting future and continue our long track record of uninterrupted success.”

New president and CEO Mapes stated, “I am honored by the confidence that the Board and John have shown in my qualifications to lead Lincoln Electric and to follow in the footsteps of great leaders such as John.”