By Alwyn Scott
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) on Monday named Darius Adamczyk as its first president and chief operating officer, a newly created role seen as a step toward designating a successor to Chief Executive Dave Cote, who has led the company for 14 years.
Adamczyk, 50, a Polish immigrant who did not speak English when he arrived in the United States at age 11, earned degrees in electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University and Syracuse University before earning an MBA at Harvard, Honeywell said.
"Darius is an eight-year veteran of Honeywell and an accomplished executive with a strong track record in numerous Honeywell businesses," Cote said in a statement.
The heads of Honeywell's businesses, which include aerospace, building controls and security and performance materials, will report to Adamczyk, who will report to Cote, the company said. The change is effective immediately.
Adamczyk has run Honeywell divisions, including most recently its $9.3-billion performance materials unit, whose products range from refrigerants to oil refining technology, Honeywell said.
Analysts praised the appointment but the stock was little changed at $112.86 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Cote could retire as soon as next year, citing people familiar with the matter. (http://on.wsj.com/1M9N2uW)
Cote's contract runs through Dec. 31, 2017, Honeywell spokesman Rob Ferris said, while adding that the company does not comment on specific succession plans.
"Though not explicit in the announcement, this seems to be a clear indication to us that Mr. Adamczyk is the most likely successor to Chairman/CEO Dave Cote," Steve Winoker, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said in a note.
"We've had no concerns over how the succession might play out – and today's announcement makes us all the more positive."
The appointment of Adamczyk comes just weeks after Honeywell's bid to acquire United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) was rebuffed.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Nick Zieminski)