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24/7 Wall St.: Best CEOs of 2012

Christopher Connor

Company: Sherwin-Williams Co. (NYSE: SHW)
Share price YTD: +63%

Connor took over as head of 146-year-old Sherwin-Williams in 1999. Some of the improvement in the company’s performance in the past year could be attributed to luck. The housing market has improved substantially, and Sherwin-Williams has 30% of the domestic paint market. The company has used the leverage that its own store network gives it to great advantage. In the most recent quarter, same-store sales rose 8.9%. More impressively, earnings per share (EPS) rose 31.0% to a record $2.24. Connor’s most important decision this year was to increase the share of the company’s international operations so that it is not as reliant on the U.S. market. In November, the company announced it would buy Consorcio Comex, based in Mexico, for $2.34 billion. Its business operations in Mexico mirror those of Sherwin-Williams in the U.S. Last year, Comex had revenue of $1.4 billion. Wall St. applauded the decision, driving its share price to a 52-week high within a week of the buyout announcement on November 12.

(Getty Images/ Alex Wong)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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