Hypertherm Associates Board of Directors selects Aaron Brandt as successor to CEO Evan Smith

HANOVER, N.H., Jan. 17, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Hypertherm Associates, a U.S. based manufacturer of industrial cutting systems and software, announced that Aaron Brandt, EVP of Technology, will succeed Evan Smith, CEO, upon Smith’s planned retirement at the end of 2024.

Evan Smith (left), Hypertherm Associates CEO, with Aaron Brandt (right), Hypertherm Associates President & COO.

Brandt will become the third CEO since Hypertherm Associates’ founding in 1968, following the strong leadership legacy of co-founder Dick Couch, CEO from 1968-2014, and Evan Smith, who succeeded Couch.

Brandt earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. He joined the company 25 years ago, starting as a Research and Design Engineer and progressing to both engineering and business leadership roles. Brandt has served as General Manager for the heavy industrial plasma business and as executive leader for the software, waterjet, and laser consumables businesses. In 2019, he founded the Hypertherm Ventures practice as a critical component of the company’s advanced manufacturing technology development strategy. In addition to functional and business leadership, Brandt has spent the past 10 years on the Executive Management Team serving as EVP, Technology, importantly shaping and executing the company’s core technology roadmap while leading the company’s digital and multi-technology growth strategies.

“The entire Hypertherm Associates Board of Directors has the utmost confidence in Aaron to guide the company on its continued path as an industry-leading organization,” said Rich Lettieri, Chair, Board of Directors. “He has demonstrated genuine commitment to innovation, customer success, and values-focused leadership. He exemplifies the Hypertherm Associates’ culture of customer-focused innovation and prioritization of the wellbeing and development of our Associates.”

During 2024, Smith will continue in his role as CEO, while Brandt takes on the position of President and Chief Operating Officer (COO). This carefully planned transition year will include staged transfer of strategic leadership responsibilities as well as recognition of Smith’s long and accomplished tenure.

“Each leader brings new perspective and energy, and Evan’s influence has successfully advanced the Hypertherm Associates vision to produce long-term benefits for our customers, our Associate owners, and the communities in which we operate,” said Dick Couch, co-founder and Board Chair Emeritus. “I am deeply grateful to Evan for taking that vision to heart and leading with great confidence.”

Smith joined the company in 1992, was named President in 2012, and has served as CEO since 2015. He has led through substantial growth, global expansion, establishment of 100% Associate ownership, and the strategic development of Hypertherm Associates as a multi-technology industrial cutting solutions leader. As he shared with the global workforce of Associate owners, “We have ambitious strategies underway that we will continue to execute with pace. Hypertherm Associates is strong and will continue to flourish.”


Hypertherm Associates is a U.S. based manufacturer of industrial cutting products and software. Its products, including Hypertherm plasma and OMAX waterjet systems, are used by companies around the world to build ships, airplanes, and railcars; construct steel buildings, fabricate heavy equipment, erect wind turbines, and more. In addition to cutting systems, the company creates CNCs and software trusted for performance and reliability that result in increased productivity and profitability for hundreds of thousands of businesses. Founded in 1968, Hypertherm Associates is a 100 percent Associate-owned company, employing approximately 2,000 Associates, with operations and partner representation worldwide. Learn more at www.HyperthermAssociates.com.