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Former Sherwin-Williams Chairman, CEO John Breen dies at 85

John was affectionately known as Jack.

Former Sherwin-Williams CEO and Chairman John " Jack"  Breen has died.

Th 85-year-old's death was confirmed by the organization in a press release Monday.

"Jack was an exceptional leader. We are forever grateful for his remarkable legacy, and he will be greatly missed," said Christopher M. Connor, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Breen joined the company in 1979 as CEO and achieved 21 consecutive years of earnings improvement. During his tenure, he achieved a host of accomplishments,including store growth from 1,400 in 1979 to 2,396 in 1999, growing revenue to more than $5 billion and much more. 

The company issued the following statement on Breen’s death.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire Sherwin-Williams family worldwide, we extend our deepest condolences to Jack’s wife, Mary Jane, and the Breen family. Jack was a tremendous leader and well respected across the organization, as well as by customers, shareholders and community leaders,” states John G. Morikis, Sherwin-Williams Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Jack is credited with saving the Company from the many difficult financial challenges he inherited after being named only the seventh CEO in Sherwin-Williams history. He was instrumental in returning the Company back to its roots of providing unmatched products and services to customers. Under his leadership, he led a strategic restructuring that focused on selling products through a revitalized platform of company-operated stores and expanding into other distribution channels, both of which resulted in Sherwin-Williams becoming an industry leader. Jack also implemented the Sherwin-Williams Management Training Program, which strengthened leadership development and sustained performance that continues today. Jack was a great mentor and friend to many, and he was an inspiration to all.”

Mr. Breen remained a member of the Sherwin-Williams Board of Directors until his retirement in April 2005. 

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