Chris Baer is the new president of VIpar Heavy Duty.

Chris Baer is the new president of VIpar Heavy Duty.

Vipar Heavy Duty has named Chris Baer its new president, effective immediately, as part of a transition plan leading to the retirement of the aftermarket parts distributor group's longtime head, Steve Crowley, who remains as CEO until the end of the year.

Baer joined Vipar Heavy Duty in January 2002 as director of program management and in November 2003 he was named vice president and a corporate officer. He was promoted to executive vice president in November 2014.

Chairman Bill Nolan made the announcement Oct. 17 at the organization’s annual business conference in Orlando, Fla.

“Chris is well-respected by Vipar Heavy Duty stockholders and suppliers and by his colleagues in the heavy duty industry,” Nolan said. “He is a proven leader with excellent market knowledge who will help us continue on a strong upward path as an organization.

"At the same time, I want to thank Steve Crowley on behalf of all my fellow shareholders for his years of leadership. We have experienced an immense amount of growth during his time at the helm and are grateful for his dedication and hard work. Steve has been a tremendous leader and a good friend.”

“It has been an honor to lead this organization for more than 16 years and I’m excited to see Chris step into this new role," Crowley said. "He has been a valued adviser to me and the board of directors, and is a natural fit to lead this organization into the future."

Before joining Vipar Heavy Duty, Baer was with Chicago Rawhide/SKF for 17 years in a variety of sales management roles, including director of automotive aftermarket sales.

He has served as a member of the AWDA Young Executive Society (YES) committee and earned the Automotive Aftermarket Professional (AAP) designation from the University of the Aftermarket. He is a 2014 recipient of the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Management Education Award. Baer is a graduate of North Park University in Chicago.