Manufacturing AUTOMATION

SME appoints new executive director and CEO

January 4, 2021
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Robert Willig, SME's new executive director and CEO. Photo: SME

SME, an industry association that promotes advanced manufacturing, has named Robert (Bob) Willig as its executive director and CEO.

Willig, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the manufacturing industry, has held multiple leadership positions for global divisions within major manufacturing companies, most recently at Stoneridge Inc., where he was president of the control devices division.

Prior to Stoneridge, Willig served as president and CEO of Plasan Carbon Composites; before that he was president, Americas, for GKN Driveline, an automotive industry supplier focused on drive system technologies.

Earlier in his career, Willig was president of both power transmission and powertrain at The Gates Corp. He has also served on various boards, including Plasan’s board of directors, GKN’s chief executive council and Gates Corp. Asia’s board of directors.


“Bob’s extensive experience and insights into the manufacturing industry make him an ideal leader for SME during this time of disruptive change in manufacturing,” says Susan Smyth, 2020 SME president, in a statement.

“Bob’s ability to focus on long-term strategy even during a challenging economy, his track record of business development success and his values-based leadership will help SME pursue its mission of advancing manufacturing while building a culture for continued success. We’re very excited to have him as our new CEO.”

Willig will succeed Sandra Bouckley, who was appointed SME’s executive director and CEO in July 2018 and who had previously served as SME president in 2017. Bouckley will remain with SME as a leadership transition consultant through March 31.

Willig will be based at SME’s headquarters in Southfield, Michigan.

SME also operates a Canadian office in Markham, Ont.

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