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Illinois Tool Works Chief Executive Officer Speer Dies

David B. Speer, chairman and chief executive officer at Illinois Tool Works Inc., a maker of auto parts and welding products, has died, the company said. He was 61.

Alison Donnelly, a spokeswoman for the company, declined to comment on the cause of death. Speer had been undergoing treatment for an undisclosed medical condition since November 2011.

Chief Operating Officer and President E. Scott Santi, 51, was named the permanent CEO today after being chosen the acting CEO last month. Robert S. Morrison, 70, was elected as non-executive chairman, ITW said in a statement.

“David’s remarkable leadership will have a lasting impact on our company,” Santi said in a statement. “He leaves a very strong foundation for us to build on as we move forward.”

Illinois Tool Works, whose businesses include industrial packaging and commercial food equipment, employed 65,000 workers as of Dec. 31, Bloomberg data show. The company, based in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, has a market value of $27.3 billion.

Speer joined ITW in 1978 and worked in sales, marketing and management positions, according to company. He became president of ITW in 2004 and was elected to CEO post in 2005. The following year, he began serving as chairman of the board.

Speer graduated from Iowa State University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, according to ITW’s website. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University in 1977.

His wife Barbara and two children, a son and a daughter, survive him, Donnelly said.

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