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ITW CEO Speer taking health leave of absence

David Speer Illinois Tool Works

David Speer of Illinois Tool Works

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Updated: November 17, 2012 6:23AM

Illinois Tool Works Inc. said on Monday that CEO David Speer is taking a leave of absence because of health concerns, and it named Vice Chairman E. Scott Santi as acting CEO.

The Glenview-based industrial equipment maker said last fall that Speer, 61, was undergoing treatment for a medical condition. On Monday it said that he will take a leave of absence “in order to fully focus on his health.”

Spokeswoman Alison Donnelly declined to provide any details about Speers’ condition.

The company also named Santi as president and chief operating officer, and said the moves, which are effective immediately, reflect “the board’s normal and carefully considered succession planning process.” Companies typically use such language to signal that they have chosen their next CEO.

The company included a statement from Speer voicing his confidence in having Santi lead the company.

Santi, 51, has spent his entire career with Illinois Tool since joining the company in 1983. He became vice chairman in 2008. He is also a director at tooling retailer W.W. Grainger Inc.

Speer is also the company’s chairman. Lead director Robert S. Morrison, 70, will become acting non-executive chairman.

Shares rose 32 cents to close at $58.87.

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