Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas, announced his retirement this morning at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Huibers will step down at the end of the year and will continue to work as a senior advisor to Volvo Penta. He also will remain active with the engine manufacturer division of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, where he is a board member.
After 26 years with the company, “it’s time to do more with my family and wife,” Huibers told Trade Only Today. He turned 60 this year and celebrated his 35th wedding anniversary with his wife, Jenny.
“We bought our first boat before we had a house,” Huibers said.
He also recently earned his 50-ton captain’s license with a sailing endorsement, and he hopes to put it to use doing deliveries. “My vision is some board roles and yacht deliveries,” Huibers said.
Huibers was running Volvo Trucks North America when he was offered a chance to lead the company’s marine business in the United States. “That’s a dream job for me,” he said.
Huibers recalled being at the company’s test facility and looking at an IPS pod drive. “I said, ‘Why can’t we do with the sterndrive what we do with the IPS, for wakesurfing.’ ” Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive is the only sterndrive with forward-facing propellers. Builders including Regal, Cobalt and Chaparral have been making inroads in the wakesurfing market with the drive.
Huibers said Volvo Penta of the Americas’ recent Great Place to Work certification is a high point of his tenure. “When we have a great place to work, that means we have an engaged team,” he said. “They have the courage to try.”
Volvo Penta president and CEO Bjorn Ingemanson said Huibers’ contributions have been many. “With 26 years of distinguished leadership across Volvo Group at Volvo Penta, Volvo and Mack Trucks, Volvo Finance and Volvo Construction Equipment, Ron’s skills and experience developing business, teams and partnerships have paid dividends to the company and stakeholders,” Ingemanson said in a statement.
Senior vice president and CFO Martin Bjuve takes over for Huibers in January. Bjuve, who is 45, has been with Volvo Penta in various roles for 17 years.
“We will continue with the investment in Seven Marine, and that will be one of they key things for me to work on,” he said.
Early integration and the company’s Easy Boating initiatives continue to be priorities, and the company hopes to bring assisted docking to market next year.
“I’m so proud of what our company and team have done, that energy level and commitment,” Huibers said. “Now I need someone else out there to do that.”