Halsey Cook

Halsey Cook is the new CEO of Spartanburg-based Milliken & Co. Provided/Milliken & Co.

A Charleston-area executive is taking the reins at one of South Carolina's largest and oldest privately held businesses.

Spartanburg-based Milliken & Co. named Halsey M. Cook Jr. as president and CEO on Wednesday. He succeeds J. Harold Chandler at the global chemical and textile giant Sept 1.

Cook’s 30-year career includes leadership roles in sales, marketing and product development the U.S. and overseas at companies such as United Technologies and Legrand North America. 

Most recently, he was president and CEO for Sonepar USA, a French-owned global distributor of electrical products that is headquartered on Leeds Avenue in North Charleston. 

Like Milliken, Sonepar is family-owned.

Cook said he is “ honored and excited" about his new executive role.

"It is an esteemed company with talented associates and an opportunity-rich future. I am looking forward to meeting the team and listening to their ideas and aspirations for the next chapter of Milliken & Co.,” he said in a written statement.

Chandler was chairman of Milliken when he assumed the president and CEO titles in October 2016, following the abrupt resignation of Joseph Salley. He will continue to oversee the board of directors.

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Chandler called Cook "the right leader for Milliken’s next era.”

“He has the experience to accelerate what is working very well today at Milliken and, importantly, introduce change where the organization can further leverage our emphasis on innovation, manufacturing excellence and customer care," he said in a statement. 

Milliken was founded in 1865. It employs about 7,000 workers and operates more than 35 manufacturing sites and numerous sales and service centers worldwide.

Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott