Gentex has announced the retirement of Fred Bauer as CEO and chairman and his resignation from the board.

During Bauer's career, Gentex has grown from a start-up to a company with around US$17m in market capitalisation at its initial public offering in 1981, to US$6bn today.

The board of directors has unanimously appointed James Wallace, the current Lead Independent director, as chairman.

"On behalf of the entire board of directors and everyone at Gentex, I would like to thank Fred Bauer for his extraordinary vision, leadership and significant track record of success as CEO and chairman," said Wallace. 

"While we all respect Fred's decision to retire from the CEO and chairman roles, we are fortunate the company will still have access to Fred's knowledge and wisdom.

"Our board has been preparing and planning for the future and believe the current management team is well prepared and fully capable of maintaining Gentex's levels of innovation, growth, and financial performance.

"Gentex's new CEO, Steve Downing, is one example of the capable management team. He is a respected leader with 15 years of demonstrated ability to deliver results using core Gentex principles."