HESSTON, Kan. — Excel Industries, a manufacturer of premium commercial and residential turf equipment sold under the Hustler and BigDog Mower Co. brand names, announces that Pesident and Chief Executive Officer Paul Mullet will retire. Joseph C. Wright will join Excel Industries as CEO on February 12, 2018.

Mullet’s decision to retire comes after 45 years with Excel Industries, serving as president and CEO since 1991. He will remain actively engaged through March, assisting with Wright’s transition. Mullet also will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors, a role he has held since 1983.

Mullet’s father, Roy Mullet, was a founding member of Excel Industries. Paul Mullet started as a welder at Excel in 1972 and progressed through a diverse range of roles with a variety of responsibilities within the company, including production supervisor, service manager, and vice president of sales and marketing until his promotion to president.

“Professionally and personally, now is the time for me to transition the leadership of Excel Industries,” said Mullet. “We’ve grown significantly over the last decade and we’re starting 2018 in a strong position. The entire leadership team is excited to welcome Joe as our new CEO and continue our growth trajectory.”

The board of directors selected Wright as CEO after an exhaustive search. Wright comes to Excel Industries from Concept Metal Group, a provider of metal processing, metal finishing, powder coating, assemblies, and supply chain management, where he served as president. Prior to that, he spent 21 years with Briggs & Stratton Corp., the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.

“We’re confident about this new chapter for our company with Joe at the helm,” said Chairman of the Board Bob Mullet. “Joe brings highly relevant experience in manufacturing and new product development to Excel Industries, as well as a track record of developing strong management teams and executing profitable growth strategies.”

For nearly a decade of his Briggs & Stratton tenure, Wright served as the president of its engines group. In that role, he had profit and loss responsibility for a $1.2 billion global engine business, including sales for North America, China and India. Wright acquired over 10 years of experience in manufacturing before joining Briggs & Stratton, including positions as president and vice president with companies in both the lawn and garden and small engine spaces.

“I wish Paul the best in his retirement and would like to express my gratitude to the board of directors for this opportunity,” said Wright. “For years, I’ve followed the progress of Excel Industries. Under my leadership, the company will continue its legacy of innovation and quality craftsmanship. I look forward to returning to my lawn and garden industry roots and becoming part of the local community.”