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Vardis Supports Platinum Equity and Vertiv

Vardis is proud to support Platinum Equity and Vertiv ( formerly known as Emerson Network Power) in the appointment of Rob Johnson as CEO.


Prior to joining Vertiv ( formerly Emerson Network Power) , Rob Johnson was an Operating Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Rob spent 10 years at American Power Conversion (APC), a leader in data center infrastructure. He was President and CEO of APC when the company was sold to Schneider Electric for $6.1 billion in 2007. While at APC he also served as General Manager of the company’s Availability Enhancement Group. In addition to his career at APC, Rob has worked in executive positions at Consolidated Container Corporation, a provider of rigid plastic packaging solutions. 

In 1989, he founded Systems Enhancement Corporation (SEC), a company that created innovative software and hardware solutions for the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) industry. He sold the company to APC in 1997.

Bryan Kelln, Partner and President of portfolio operations at Platinum Equity, said Mr. Johnson’s leadership skills and technical expertise make him a perfect fit to lead Vertiv. 

“Rob has a unique blend of industry knowledge, operational acumen and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Mr. Kelln. “This is a transformational opportunity for the company and we believe Rob is the right leader to grow the business as we establish a culture focused on speed, innovation and customer service.” 

“Rob knows the technology inside out, especially in data center environments, and understands what customers need,” added Mr. Kelln. “He knows what it takes as a CEO to inspire employees and lead a profitable, global enterprise. He’s also an innovator who shares our vision for what Vertiv can become as a standalone business.” 

Mark Mullen, Partner at Vardis, said "Vardis is delighted to support Platinum equity again in the appointment of Rob as CEO, with our Global Platform, we are well placed to support the continued success of Vertiv. "

Rob said the transition to new ownership provides a unique opportunity for the company. “It’s a fresh start for a business that already has so much going for it. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at Vertiv as we begin this transformational chapter in the company’s history,” he said.  “As an independent company, Vertiv will operate with great freedom to make business strategy and investment decisions, move more quickly like a startup, and focus on innovative solutions for our customers, including those in the growing cloud computing, mobile and IoT networks.” 

Vertiv will build on the broad portfolio of product and service offerings for power, thermal and IT management capabilities it previously offered as Emerson Network Power, including its industry-leading flagship brands ASCO®, Chloride®, Liebert®, NetSure™ and Trellis™. 

Platinum Equity Partner Jacob Kotzubei said that Platinum Equity’s M&A and operational resources, and the firm’s strong relationship with Emerson, will benefit Vertiv in the short and long term. 

“We will support Vertiv’s growth and product innovation every step of the way, both organically and through prospective add-on acquisitions,” said Mr. Kotzubei. “This is our second partnership with Emerson and we have had great success together. We look forward to a seamless transition and an exciting future for Vertiv and the customers it serves.” 


Network Power was rebranded as Vertiv and operates as a stand-alone global enterprise in Platinum Equity’s portfolio. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, the company is a leading provider of thermal management, A/C and D/C power, transfer switches, services and information management systems for the data center and telecommunications industries. Emerson recently reported that the Network Power business had sales of approximately $4.4 billion in fiscal 2016.

“The completion of this transaction is an important step in our strategic portfolio repositioning as we work to streamline the company and create opportunities for long-term growth and drive value for shareholders,” said David N. Farr, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Emerson. “With Network Power under the Platinum Equity umbrella, it is well positioned to achieve its long-term goals and succeed in the future.” 

Platinum Equity Chairman and CEO Tom Gores said he is proud of his firm’s strong relationship with Emerson and the commitment on both sides to finding a solution that is good for Network Power going forward. 

“We appreciate Emerson’s trust and confidence in our ability to execute,” said Mr. Gores. “This investment will be a cornerstone in our portfolio and is a great fit for Platinum that plays right to our strengths. We will deploy our full range of global operational skills, financial resources and M&A capabilities to support the company's growth and innovation." 

Founded by Tom Gores in 1995, Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with a portfolio of approximately 30 operating companies that serve customers around the world. Platinum Equity specializes in mergers and operations – a trademarked strategy it calls M&A&O® - acquiring and operating companies in a broad range of business markets, including manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics, equipment rental, metals services, media and entertainment, technology, telecommunications and other industries. Over the past 20 years, Platinum Equity has completed more than 185 acquisitions. 

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