Sonepar Group has appointed Paul Klasing as president of Sonepar USA, effective Jan. 1, 2009. Klasing succeeds Tony Burr, who has been appointed to a new global role focusing on strategic initiatives for the Sonepar Group.

Klasing joined Sonepar on Sept. 1, 2008. Prior to Sonepar, Klasing was executive vice president, Stores, at Advance Auto Parts, where he worked for 13 years, leading 3,000 company-owned retail stores in the United States. His experience in the automotive industry gave Klasing strong expertise in merchandising and store operations.

“I am pleased to have Paul as a member of our executive team,” says Frank Lakerveld, managing director and chief operating officer of Sonepar Group. “Paul's experience will prove invaluable to our Sonepar USA operations. Partnering with Hagemeyer North America CEO Dave Gabriel in the USA market and enjoying the ongoing support of Tony Burr, I am confident that the Sonepar USA operations will continue to thrive under Paul's leadership.”

Burr has been asked to support group activities related to strategic and synergy opportunities among Sonepar's businesses around the world. Burr will continue to reside in Philadelphia.

Gabriel's role as CEO of Hagemeyer North America and president of U.S. operations remains unchanged. Because of its unique range of products, customers and alternate channels, Hagemeyer North America will continue as a separate division from Sonepar USA.

Burr joined Sonepar's U.S. operation in 2004 as COO and president of Sonepar USA. Under his leadership, the company achieved substantial growth, both autonomous and via acquisition, that raised U.S. sales to over $2.9 billion (excluding Hagemeyer N.A.). Prior to Sonepar USA, Burr spent 10 years at Hagemeyer, where his last role was CEO of the U.K. and Irish electrical distribution groups.