Current announces Steve Harris as CEO

May 10, 2023
After a decade leading manufacturing process systems provider Shape Technologies Group, Harris is prepared for “hands-on operational changes,” according to Current chairman Bill Tolley.

The management tide at Current has shifted once again with a new CEO hire, replacing interim CEO Bill Tolley effective May 30. Tolley will continue to serve as board chairman at the lighting and controls company.

Current announced that longtime industrial and manufacturing executive Steve Harris would step into the recently vacated role of CEO. Having spent ten years in leadership positions at Shape Technologies Group, Harris has experience in “a wide array of emerging and expanding markets, connecting customers to future-forward manufacturing processes,” according to a Current press statement. Harris has a master’s in business from Oakland University and a bachelor’s in engineering from Lawrence Technical University, both in Michigan.

“Steve is a strong force in the commercial space. He is an experienced CEO known for hands-on operational changes, which is what we need,” Tolley said. “His leadership will accelerate Current and position the company as best in class in the lighting and controls industry.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to join Current,” Harris said. “They have an unmatched legacy of product innovation. But more importantly, their ongoing commitment to reshape the lighting and controls industry provides a unique opportunity to give customers more of what they want. This is a company poised for great things, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Following the Current

Current has undergone a number of changes between the launch of the initial energy and smart lighting business by GE in 2015 and its eventual sale to private-equity firm American Industrial Partners (AIP) in 2019. After the AIP acquisition, the organization changed its name from “Current, powered by GE” to “GE Current, a Daintree company,” reflecting its separation from the former parent company General Electric while continuing to license the GE name. The moniker also highlighted the Current organization’s digital and controls technologies obtained when it acquired Daintree Networks a few years prior. CEO Maryrose Sylvester left the lighting industry behind for power and automation company ABB not long after AIP moved in.

From December 2019, Manish Bhandari led Current through a pandemic, a move back to Cleveland headquarters, and the acquisition of Hubbell Inc.’s commercial and industrial (C&I) lighting and controls groups. Earlier this year, Current announced Bhandari’s sudden departure as Tolley filled the role of interim CEO.

Last June, Current announced a “unified” brand identity and new company logo while exhibiting at LightFair 2022 in Las Vegas, and updated its website to showcase its family of brands including Hubbell lines. One might speculate that Current’s decision not to exhibit at the upcoming LightFair tradeshow in New York was perhaps precipitated by its focus on the executive search, but a perusal of its online media room also indicates a lack of new lighting and controls product updates under the GLI (GE Lighting) brands, while the HLI (Hubbell) lines have launched several C&I indoor and outdoor luminaires, as well as sensors, since last summer. We have reached out to Current for clarification on its product launch timeline and will update this story as that information becomes available.

CARRIE MEADOWS is managing editor of LEDs Magazine, with 20-plus years’ experience in business-to-business publishing across technology markets including solid-state technology manufacturing, fiberoptic communications, machine vision, lasers and photonics, and LEDs and lighting.

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About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.