SME Launches Search for Next CEO

Korn Ferry hired to identify successor for Bob Willig who retires at end of the year

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., May 31, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SME, the nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing technology and fostering manufacturing and engineering talent and capabilities in North America, has retained global organizational consulting firm, Korn Ferry, to conduct a search to find the nonprofit organization’s next Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Earlier this year, Robert “Bob” Willig, SME Executive Director and CEO, announced his retirement, coming at the end of the year.

“Bob will be retiring from his position as Executive Director and CEO at SME in December 2024 to enjoy well-deserved time with his family at the conclusion of a distinguished career,” said Winston F. Erevelles, PhD, SME President. “We are incredibly grateful to Bob for his vision, leadership, and dedication.”

The Executive Director and CEO will provide overall leadership of SME and is responsible for advancing SME’s vision and implementing and executing a strategy for the future.

Korn Ferry has launched a comprehensive search of internal and external candidates. For a detailed description of the Executive Director and CEO position specification and to apply, please click here.

The search will be co-led by Lorraine Lavet and Justin Ripley at Korn Ferry. For more information regarding this search, they can be reached at: Lorraine Lavet at and Justin Ripley at

About SME

Established in 1932 as a nonprofit organization, SME represents the entire North American manufacturing industry, including manufacturers, academia, professionals, students, and the communities in which they operate. We believe manufacturing holds the key to economic growth and prosperity, and champion the industry's potential as a diverse, thriving, and valued ecosystem. SME accelerates new technology adoption and builds North America’s talent and capabilities to advance manufacturing and drive competitiveness, resiliency, and national security. SME designs new ways to understand and solve problems, and our solutions advance the next wave of growth in manufacturing. Learn more at