Executive in Residence 2011
Fred J. Whyte, the president of STIHL Inc., presented five different lectures during a two day Executive in Residence program from March 23-24. His lectures covered corporate strategy, marketing and distribution, leadership and business basics. In addition to teaching students on the main campus, Mr. Whyte gave what amounted to an engineering tutorial to students at the College of Technology. According to Tim Wilkinson, the Interim Dean of the College of Business, “Mr. Whyte wowed our students, faculty, staff and business community. It was a real pleasure to have such a distinguished industrialist come to Billings to teaching our MSUB students.
Fred J. Whyte is responsible for the overall management of STIHL’s U.S. operation, headquartered in Virginia Beach, Va. Prior to his appointment in 1992, Whyte was the president of STIHL Limited, the company’s Canadian affiliate.
Whyte began his career with STIHL in 1971, working as a regional manager for STIHL American, the same company where his father had worked for nearly two decades. He became product manager for STIHL Inc. in 1975 and was promoted to national sales manager just four years later.
At the age of 34, Whyte became president of STIHL Limited, where he founded the Canadian operation in 1982 and served until he became president of STIHL Incorporated. During his 10 years at STIHL Ltd, the Canadian company achieved increases in sales each year. The tradition of achievement continued under Whyte’s presidential tenure at STIHL Incorporated, which experienced 17 consecutive years of annual increases in sales and revenue prior to the recent recession. Also, under Whyte’s leadership, STIHL achieved the status as the number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America.*
A native of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, Whyte is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Seattle University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. Presently, Whyte is the chairman of the board of directors for the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and serves on the Old Dominon University Board of Visitors, as well as the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters Children’s Health Foundation board of directors. Previously, he served as president of the Portable Power Equipment Manufacturers Association (PPEMA).
*"Number one selling brand" is based on syndicated Irwin Broh Research (commercial landscapers) as well as independent consumer research of 2009 U.S. sales and market share data for the gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment category combined sales to consumers and commercial landscapers.