Vance Gillette rejoins Zodiac as vice president of business development.

Zodiac Pool Systems Inc. of Vista, Calif., has promoted several key executives into new leadership roles.

Calvin Johnston, the former president/ CEO of Zodiac Pool Systems, Americas, is departing his position — and the pool industry — to assume a management role at another organization.

“The decision was mutual,” said Tony Prudhomme, COO of Zodiac Marine & Pool Group since 2008, who has been promoted to interim president of Zodiac Pool Systems, Americas. “[Calvin] had the experience and credentials, but ultimately it wasn’t a cultural fit with the company, and with our industry. He took the steps that were appropriate for him — actually, appropriate for all of us.”

Zodiac’s organizational structure will remain in place, and its business relationships will be unaffected by Johnston’s departure, Prudhomme explained. In his interim role, he will work to keep operations running smoothly while maintaining and growing Zodiac’s business throughout the company’s Americas region.

“In [my new] position, my role is to make sure we have the leadership in place to be able to properly support our business partners, and our employees, here in the Americas,” Prudhomme said.

But as one leader departs, another has returned: Industry icon Vance Gillette has been hired as vice president of business development. In 2009, Gillette left his full-time post as Zodiac’s executive vice president of sales and marketing to serve as a part-time consultant for the company. He said he was inspired to return because he missed taking an active role in the pool industry, and still has high hopes for its future.

“I’m excited about the industry,” Gillette said. “I believe it’s on a rebound curve, and I’m really excited to be part of that. I think there’s a pent-up demand for our product, and for the pool experience — and I think our industry is poised to have sustainable, measurable growth in the near future.” In his new role, Gillette will focus on fostering Zodiac’s relationships with dealers and distributors.

Zodiac’s former vice president of business development, Troy Franzen, now is executive vice president of Zodiac Pool Systems, Americas. Franzen, who came to the company after a 20-year career with Black & Decker, will oversee all aspects of the business related to sales, marketing and customer relations.

“I’m looking forward to helping execute what I believe is a really good strategy,” Franzen said, “and to working in a pretty neat industry.”

Change also is in the works at Cover-Pools Inc., a Zodiac subsidiary based in Salt Lake City. Todd Cramer has been promoted to president, following the retirement of longtime owner Rick Clark, who also served as general manager.

“Rick is the one who specifically recommended Todd for this position,” Prudhomme said. “I think that once our distributors and business partners get to know Todd, they’re going to say Rick handed off his baby to a person who really can be trusted. We’re very excited about Todd in his new role.” 

Franzen said he’s confident about the new team, and believes they have what it takes to move forward with Zodiac’s new initiatives. “We certainly had a couple of tough years, as have most industries,” he said. “But at Zodiac, we feel like we’re moving in the right direction, and having a more positive year. We’re more bullish about the next couple of years.”