Yaskawa America Inc. today announced the promotion of Mike Knapek, president and chief operating officer (COO) of the Drives & Motion Division, to the position of chief executive officer.
Knapek takes over for Masahiro Ogawa, who has led Yaskawa’s Drives, Motion, and Robotics business in the Americas for the past 5-1/2 years. Ogawa will return to Kurosaki, Japan, to take on the role of corporate vice president and general manager of Yaskawa’s global robotics business.
In his new role, Knapek will lead both the Drives & Motion and Motoman Robotics divisions of Yaskawa America Inc. Also, he will continue to serve as president and COO of the Drives & Motion Division, while Steve Barhorst will remain president and COO of the Motoman Robotics Division.
Knapek began his career with Magnetek Inc. in 1986. After Yaskawa acquired the Drives Division from Magnetek, he grew to take on leadership roles in several product areas. Later, he became responsible for the drives business in North America and South America. Knapek became president and COO of Yaskawa America Inc. in March 2011. Under his direction, Yaskawa has increased market share every year, including record-setting years in 2014 and 2015.