Robotic Pool Cleaner Firm Taps New Leader

Maytronics US of Norcross, Ga., has a new president/CEO.

Randy Kizitaff took the helm of the robotic pool cleaner firm on Jan. 12. His predecessor, Randy Hitchens, left to pursue other career opportunities.

A lifelong pool industry professional, Kizitaff has worked at Weatherking Products, SCP and SmartPool.

He was president of the latter just prior to accepting the Maytronics US position.

“SmartPool was the North American distributor of Maytronics products for five years. I’d worked with the management team and knew the technology,” Kizitaff noted.

In 2007, the two companies had an amicable parting of ways, with Israel-based Maytronics Ltd. establishing the Maytronics US subsidiary while SmartPool developed its own line of robotic cleaners and other products.

For Kizitaff, it’s full speed ahead. His goals include helping Maytronics US “do better what we do well now. I want to maximize the opportunities and strength that Maytronics has as a robotics manufacturer.”

Time will tell how well any new initiatives will fare, but it’s likely that industry retailers will be watching with interest. The automatic pool cleaner segment is relatively strong even in a down economy, and moves by major manufacturers are noticed.

At least one retailer wasn’t surprised by the leadership change at Maytronics US. “It’s not unusual in this industry for people to hop back and forth between companies,” said David Dos Santos, assistant retail manager at Teddy Bear Pools in Chicopee, Mass. “And, in this case, it’s probably advantageous for Maytronics to hire someone who knows their business,” yet can offer an outsider’s perspective.

Dos Santos added that he foresees continued strength in the robotics sector in 2010. “The majority of these consumers are inground pool owners who are able to spend more for cleaners. People who have pools want cleaners to maintain them,” he said.

Meanwhile, at SmartPool in Lakewood, N.J., Kizitaff’s departure will mean a more active role in day-to-day business for Joe Dubrofsky, founder/owner, according to Stephen Shulman, director of marketing.

“It’s going to be a great year for SmartPool,” Shulman added, with more product developments, including new cleaners for 2010.