(Houston, TX—) ABS President and Chief Operating Officer Christopher J. Wiernicki will assume the duties of Chief Executive Officer of ABS following the classification societyâ€™s annual meeting in April 2011. Robert D. Somerville, currently Chairman and CEO of ABS, will relinquish the CEO responsibilities while remaining Chairman of both ABS and the ABS Group of Companies. Wiernicki, a member of the Board of Directors of ABS, has been working closely with Somerville for the last four years in his position as President and COO. The role of CEO will be in addition to Wiernickiâ€™s existing responsibilities.
Highlighting the fact that ABS is poised to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its formation in 2012, Somerville stressed, â€œIt is important for our clients and employees that we maintain a consistent management and operational philosophy â€“ one that is firmly committed to ABSâ€™ mission. It is a reflection of both our management strength and our commitment to continued expansion that I can relinquish the CEO responsibilities in April. This will allow me to better focus on charting the strategy that will help secure the future of ABS for the coming decades.â€
Commenting on the transition, Wiernicki noted that â€œThe scope of classification services has expanded significantly over the last few years and it is clear that it will continue to change at an even more rapid pace. ABS is determined to be the leader in defining the role of class in this new environment. My primary focus will be to ensure that ABS is at the forefront when it comes to providing the innovative products and efficient services that will define ABS as the class society of the future.â€
The new management structure mirrors that of the ABS Group of Companies, a leader in the provision of independent risk management services to energy, government, insurance and industrial sectors. Tony Nassif serves as CEO and President of the ABS Group of Companies.
Wiernicki, a 17 year veteran of ABS has held a number of other senior positions within the organization including President and COO of ABS Europe Ltd, Chief Technology Officer and President and COO of ABS Group. He joined ABS in 1993 as Vice President of Engineering within the ABS Americas Division. Prior to ABS, Wiernicki was President and Chief Executive of Designers and Planners Inc., one of the leading naval architecture firms in the United States
Wiernicki holds a BS degree in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University and Mastersâ€™ degrees in Structural Engineering from George Washington University and Ocean Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Additionally, Wiernicki is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.
Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.