Bendix Commercial  Vehicle Systems has appointed Michael J. Hawthorne as its new president and CEO as well as a member of the executive board, succeeding Berend Bracht who is stepping down to take a role outside of the company.

Michael J. Hawthorne, Bendix president and CEO.  -  Photo courtesy Bendix

Michael J. Hawthorne, Bendix president and CEO.

Photo courtesy Bendix

Hawthorne was previously the president and CEO of New York Air Brake, a sister company of Bendix within the Knorr-Bremse Group, having held the position since 2012. He also has experience in different positions within Raytheon and General Electric.

“Mike’s well-deserved reputation as a talented and strategic executive has been known for years to many members of the Bendix team, and we’re pleased to welcome him aboard,” said Joe McAleese, Bendix chairman. “With his passion for ensuring a focus on strong customer relationships and support, as well as a shared belief in not just what Bendix has built, but also the promise of where we’re going, Mike will be a true and dynamic asset to our leadership team and the entire Bendix community.”

McAleese also noted Bracht’s contributions to the company as the former president and CEO adding, “His vision – complemented by strategic investment in key business areas – has ignited exciting innovations underway that mean even stronger and more effective customer solutions.”

Hawthorne spent a decade as director of New York Air Brake’s Train Dynamic Systems division, where he helped develop a new market in energy management, and was credited with establishing a culture of innovation within the division.

Hawthorne has also delivered more than 15 technical papers in product development and been awarded more than 20 patents. As president and CEO, he expanded NYAB’s technology footprint, product portfolio, and revenue base.

He holds several degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Clarkson University, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University.

“The Bendix team’s technical achievements, business growth, employee spirit, and community support are admired across Knorr-Bremse’s North American family, and I couldn’t be more honored to become a part of this outstanding and talented group,” said Hawthorne. “Berend helped to set a very strong course of achievements, and I’m truly looking forward to helping continue the Bendix legacy of safety, innovation, and customer focus.”

Related: Q&A: Bendix's Bracht on the Changing Truck Industry