Armstrong World Industries' board of directors has named Matthew J. "Matt" Espe as the company's ceo and president. His appointment will become effective in late July. Espe succeeds Michael D. Lockhart, who stepped down in February.

Espe, 51, brings 30 years of experience in sales, marketing, distribution and management of global manufacturing businesses to Armstrong, with 22 of those years as president and ceo of GE Lighting.

"Matt brings a proven track record of placing a strong focus on customer service and profitable growth and is ideally suited to lead Armstrong into its next phase of growth," said James J. O'Connor, Armstrong's chairman. "Matt is an experienced executive who knows how to run large organizations efficiently and effectively. Throughout his career he has built businesses using systems and efficiency improvements, such as Six Sigma, to grow revenue and improve profitability. We are especially pleased to have Matt join Armstrong on our 150-year anniversary, a notable occasion in our company's storied history."

Espe joins Armstrong from Ricoh Americas Corp., a provider of document management services, where he serves as chairman and ceo. Prior to this role, Espe was chairman and ceo of IKON Office Solutions, a $4 billion office equipment distributor and services provider with 24,000 employees, which was acquired by Ricoh in 2008. During his tenure there he launched successive growth programs to increase global accounts, shifted products to a higher-end mix to reach higher-margin segments, and grew professional services through system and software solutions.

Prior to joining IKON in 2002, Espe was president and ceo of GE Lighting. In this role, he served on the Corporate Executive Council of General Electric. In his 22-year career with GE, Espe managed multiple functional areas, including sales, marketing, distribution and manufacturing, and across divisions, including GE Supply, GE Plastics, and GE Lighting. He brings a global perspective, having led businesses in Europe, Asia and North America.

"Armstrong is one of the most well-known and trusted brands in the industry. I'm privileged to be joining such a talented team whose dedication has produced an industry leader known for quality products and superior customer service. I'm looking forward to what we can do together to build on that success," Espe noted.

The board of directors plans to nominate Espe to serve on Armstrong's board after his appointment as ceo becomes effective. He is also a member of the boards of Unisys Corp. and Graphic Packaging Holding Co. Espe is an active volunteer and member of the board of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Idaho and has an MBA from Whittier College.