Team NEO Names Chris Connor as Chariman


Team Northeast Ohio’s (Team NEO) governing Board of Trustees announced today that Christopher M. Connor has been elected chairman.  Connor is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Sherwin-Williams Company.  He succeeds Robert B. “Yank” Heisler, who has served as chairman since 2004 and will remain on the board.

“The entire 16-county Cleveland Plus region will benefit from the outstanding leadership Chris will provide to support our mission of attracting new business investment to Northeast Ohio,” said Thomas A. Waltermire, Team NEO’s CEO.  “He is committed to the success of all parts of the region.”

Connor said, “Our economy is in a dynamic transformation.  Those of us who live and do business in Northeast Ohio know the many assets our region has to offer.  I look forward to working with Team NEO to tell our region’s story nationally and globally.”

Heisler, former Chairman of KeyBank and currently Special Assistant to the President, Community and Business Strategies for Kent State University, steps down after a highly successful year for the four-year-old Team NEO.  Highlights included the launch of the Cleveland Plus regional marketing campaign and a more focused mission for Team NEO, devoted to attracting investment by businesses who today are not operating in the region.  The combination of the new mission and the Cleveland Plus campaign led to the identification of 95 new, serious investment leads in 2007.  By year-end, ten of these opportunities had been successfully concluded, representing an estimated new payroll benefit for the 16-county Cleveland Plus region of $93 million per year.

“We owe tremendous gratitude to Yank Heisler for his leadership through Team NEO’s formative years,” said Waltermire.  “We thank Yank for his countless hours and his devotion to making Team NEO an important contributor to the region’s economic resurgence.”

About Christopher M. Connor
Christopher M. Connor is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Sherwin-Williams Company, the $7 billion global leader in the paint and coatings industry. 
Connor began his employment with The Sherwin-Williams Company in 1983 as Director of Advertising for the Paint Stores Group.  He subsequently held a variety of key marketing positions within the Stores division. In 1994, he was promoted to President and General Manager of the Diversified Brands Division, the company’s integrated manufacturer and marketer of branded and private label aerosol, applicator, caulk and industrial products.  Connor was promoted in 1997 to President of the Paint Stores Group, with annual sales of $3 billion through 2,400 company-owned stores.  In this assignment, he oversaw the company’s sales and profit growth in the professional contractor, do-it-yourself, industrial and marine coatings and product finishes market segments.  Connor served in that capacity until being promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 1999.
Connor serves on the Board of Directors of National City Corporation and Eaton Corporation.  He also serves on the Board of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  He is immediate past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of University Hospitals of Cleveland.  Connor Co-Chairs the Cleveland Commission on Economic Partnership and Inclusion in addition to serving on the Board of Trustees of The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, United Way Services of Greater Cleveland, and the Playhouse Square Foundation.  He is a 1978 graduate of The Ohio State University. 

About Team NEO
Team NEO markets Northeast Ohio to attract business investment in targeted industry clusters.  The organization is a joint venture of the largest metropolitan area chambers, representing 4 million people in 16 counties.  Team NEO serves as a central resource, informing and serving those considering investment in Northeast Ohio and is a co-founder of the Cleveland Plus Marketing Alliance, a coalition to drive strategic, long-term marketing for Northeast Ohio.  For more information, visit



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