Honeywell forms pure-play fire unit

Fire Systems, System Sensor now part of Honeywell Fire Safety, which will have sharper fire focus and more R&D
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NORTHFORD, Conn.—Honeywell’s Fire Systems and System Sensor businesses are now part of a pure-play fire unit called Honeywell Fire Safety, in a move expected to enhance research and development.

Forming the new business unit allows for a better focus on fire, according to Gary Lederer, the new president of Honeywell Fire Safety. Lederer, who had been business leader of Honeywell Life Safety Fire Solutions, Americas, told Security Systems News: “It really is about focusing resources on particular industries and trying to align them where it makes sense.”

He said the creation of Honeywell Fire Safety will lead to more innovation. That’s because the new business unit is a comprehensive one that includes Honeywell fire businesses around the globe, so new ideas from abroad can be used to develop products in local markets.

“We hopefully will be able to take ideas that are successful or are being considered in other parts of the world and bring them to market here, but tailor them to this market,” Lederer said.

An example is a fire panel with a multilanguage feature, he said. That’s a new concept here, but “we already have that in Europe,” Lederer said.

The business realignment comes as Mark Levy, a 40-year industry veteran who has been president of Honeywell Life Safety for 15 years, retires at the end of July.

After the realignment, which took place in late June, Honeywell Life Safety no longer exists. It previously had three business units: Honeywell Analytics, a gas business serving the petrochemical industry; Honeywell Safety Products, which provides personal protective equipment; and the Fire Solutions, Americas business, made up of Honeywell Fire Systems and System Sensor.

But Lederer, who became business leader of the Fire Solutions business last year, said that while the Analytics and Safety Products businesses shared many customers, they “had very little overlap with my fire business.”

Now, he said, the Analytics and Safety Products businesses are unified as Honeywell Industrial Safety—whose president now is Carl Johnson, formerly president of Honeywell Analytics.

Lederer now leads Honeywell Fire Safety. He’ll report to Alex Ismail, president and CEO of Honeywell’s Automation and Control Solutions.

Honeywell Fire Safety includes not only the Americas business Lederer was previously responsible for, but the Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific fire businesses. “I have a management team that’s multinational that reports to me,” Lederer said.

Before becoming leader of the Americas business, Lederer led the Honeywell Life Systems Europe, Middle East and Africa Fire Systems business. Also, he said, “I was the director of a company that we had in China for several years back in the late 90s. So I know everybody in this business, and I know what the businesses do.”

Honeywell Fire Safety provides fire alarm and emergency communication systems, marketed worldwide through the Honeywell-endorsed brands of Fire-Lite Alarms, Gamewell-FCI, NOTIFIER, and Silent Knight. System Sensor is a global manufacturer of fire detection and notification devices.

Lederer said dealers “shouldn’t see a change in the day-to-day business transactions,” he said. However, he said, “what hopefully they’ll see over the coming months and years is more and better products.”

Before this new reorganization, the Honeywell fire businesses globally have been so siloed that they weren’t sharing technological expertise, Lederer said.

“I was constantly pressing my Americas business, [asking], ‘Why are we reinventing something that already exists in another region of the world?’” he said.

Reporting to Lederer will be Todd Rief, who will continue in his current role as vice president of Honeywell Fire Systems Americas; and Tom Potosnak, who will remain as vice president and general manager of System Sensor Americas.