CLEVELAND, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: LECO) announced today that John M. Stropki, Jr., 61, who has been Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer since 2004, will become Executive Chairman of the Board, and Christopher L. Mapes, 50, will be named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, both effective December 31, 2012. As Executive Chairman, Mr. Stropki will work closely with Mr. Mapes to ensure a seamless transition for Lincoln Electric's shareholders, global employee base, key customers, industry associations, and community and government relationships, including Lincoln's global headquarters' community in Cleveland. Mr. Mapes has been serving as Chief Operating Officer of the Company since September 1, 2011, and has been a member of the Board of Directors since February 2010. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120727/CL47211-a )(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120727/CL47211-b ) "This leadership transition is a direct result of the Board's and John's conscientious focus on developing a deep, talented and experienced management team at Lincoln Electric," said Harold L. Adams, Lead Director and Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. "Chris has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, strategic insight and operational expertise during his time as a director and as a member of the Company's executive management team, with responsibility for all of Lincoln's global businesses and product development initiatives. He is highly qualified to lead Lincoln to new levels of growth and value creation, building on the strong global leadership position and phenomenal success that the Company has achieved during John's tenure as CEO. We thank John for everything he has done to make Lincoln the highly successful global industry leader and premier employer it is today. His continued stewardship of our truly unique culture will ensure a smooth leadership succession for the more than 10,000 dedicated men and women who make up Lincoln's global workforce." Mr. Adams noted that during Mr. Stropki's tenure as CEO, the Company embarked on the largest expansion of its global manufacturing footprint in its history, successfully integrated key acquisitions, achieved record earnings in 2011, and consistently increased its quarterly dividend.