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Sherwin-Williams Announces the Passing of Former Chairman and CEO John G. Breen

October 28, 2019

CLEVELAND, Oct. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE: SHW) announces with deep sadness the loss of John G. ("Jack") Breen, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sherwin-Williams. Mr. Breen passed away today at the age of 85.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire Sherwin-Williams family worldwide, we extend our deepest condolences to Jack's wife, Mary Jane, and the Breen family. Jack was a tremendous leader and well respected across the organization, as well as by customers, shareholders and community leaders," states John G. Morikis, Sherwin-Williams Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Jack is credited with saving the Company from the many difficult financial challenges he inherited after being named only the seventh CEO in Sherwin-Williams history. He was instrumental in returning the Company back to its roots of providing unmatched products and services to customers. Under his leadership, he led a strategic restructuring that focused on selling products through a revitalized platform of company-operated stores and expanding into other distribution channels, both of which resulted in Sherwin-Williams becoming an industry leader. Jack also implemented the Sherwin-Williams Management Training Program, which strengthened leadership development and sustained performance that continues today. Jack was a great mentor and friend to many, and he was an inspiration to all."

Mr. Breen joined the Company in 1979 as Chief Executive Officer and under his visionary leadership and direction, Sherwin-Williams achieved 21 consecutive years of earnings improvement. During his tenure, revenues grew from $1.1 billion to more than $5.0 billion in 1999, and net income improved from $5.0 million to $304 million. In addition, the number of Sherwin-Williams stores grew from 1,400 in 1979 to 2,396 in 1999. Mr. Breen was known for his unquestioned commitment to delivering innovative, high-quality products to customers, providing strong returns to shareholders, and implementing career enhancing and wealth building opportunities to employees. Mr. Breen retired as CEO in October 1999 and as Chairman in April 2000. In June 2000, Sherwin-Williams dedicated the John G. Breen Technology Center in Cleveland to honor his long, distinguished service. Mr. Breen remained a member of the Sherwin-Williams Board of Directors until his retirement in April 2005. In addition to his responsibilities to the Company, Mr. Breen served on the Board of Directors for several corporations and non-profit organizations. Over his lifetime, he was a generous supporter of numerous non-profit organizations including the Achievement Centers for Children, University Hospitals, John Carroll University and Saint Ignatius High School.

Known for his honest, no-nonsense determination and tough-minded decision-making, Mr. Breen was exceedingly committed to the success of Sherwin-Williams during his tenure. "I had the good fortune of working with Jack for many years and drawing upon his advice and counsel, which served me well throughout my career with Sherwin-Williams," adds Christopher M. Connor, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Jack was an exceptional leader. We are forever grateful for his remarkable legacy, and he will be greatly missed."

About The Sherwin-Williams Company
Founded in 1866, The Sherwin-Williams Company is a global leader in the manufacture, development, distribution, and sale of paints, coatings and related products to professional, industrial, commercial, and retail customers. Sherwin-Williams manufactures products under well-known brands such as Sherwin-Williams®, Valspar®, HGTV HOME® by Sherwin-Williams, Dutch Boy®, Krylon®, Minwax®, Thompson's® Water Seal®, Cabot® and many more. With global headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, Sherwin-Williams® branded products are sold exclusively through a chain of more than 4,900 company operated stores and facilities, while the company's other brands are sold through leading mass merchandisers, home centers, independent paint dealers, hardware stores, automotive retailers, and industrial distributors. The Sherwin-Williams Performance Coatings Group supplies a broad range of highly-engineered solutions for the construction, industrial, packaging and transportation markets in more than 120 countries around the world. Sherwin-Williams shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: SHW). For more information, visit

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From left to right, John G. Morikis, John G. Breen and Christopher M. Connor (Image of the ninth, seventh and eighth Sherwin-Williams CEO’s taken at the Company’s 2016 150th anniversary celebration)

John G. (Jack) Breen (June 1997)

The Sherwin-Williams Company Logo (PRNewsfoto/The Sherwin-Williams Company)

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SOURCE The Sherwin-Williams Company