CEO OF THE WEEK: Aug 1, 2003 Mark Kachur Chairman and CEO of CUNO Inc.
Back in 1994, CUNO had top-notch filtration technology but a rusty business plan. The company recruited Mark Kachur to fix it, and his arrival began an era of what one analyst describes as a religious commitment to developing a full pipeline of new products. That strategy has paid off; operating margins have nearly quadrupled, and CUNO's growth rate is nearly twice the industry average.
Mark Kachur: Bio and Career Highlights Age: 59
Education: Kachur joined CUNO in 1994 as president after serving as president and CEO of Biotage Inc. for two years. He is also a director of Connecticut Water Service Inc.
Resume: Kachur earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from the University of Hartford.
Corporate Culture Board of Directors: Kachur says, "I never use the term 'my board,' because it's not my board, it's the shareholders' board. It's up to the shareholders and the board to work closely to represent the shareholders and ensure that the shareholders are getting the best possible benefit for their investment."
Stock options: CUNO does not expense stock options.
Charity: CUNO is the largest supporter of the United Way in its community and the winner of the Outstanding Company Award for 2003 for the Meriden and Wallingford chapter. The company contributed a total of $65,910 in 2003: $33,735 from the company and $32,175 from employees.
On product development
"We don't develop it unless it has a proprietary patented position. We don't want to create an aftermarket for somebody else. So when we lock in that aftermarket, we can expect to enjoy it for several years," he says.
Why this makes him proud
Kachur says, "We're heavily compensated on the success of new products. It's part of our culture. Our training is based on new products. And so it becomes a daily activity for us, and it is probably not the case at most of our competitors."