Alex Gregory, president, CEO and chairman of the YKK Corp. of America.

Marietta-based YKK Corp. of America has named its president and CEO, Alex Gregory, chairman of the board of directors.

On April 29, he was chosen to succeed Tadahiro Yoshida. Mr. Yoshida is also president and CEO of the parent company, YKK Corp., a Japanese manufacturer of zippers, fasteners and architectural products.

As chairman, Mr. Gregory told GlobalAtlanta that he would enhance the board’s role in oversight and governance, including environmental issues and the safety of employees, and work with business leaders for continued growth in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

YKK Corp. of America oversees 14 companies operating in North and Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean.

The company’s fastening business declined over the last decade as apparel production shifted from the Western Hemisphere to China and other Asian countries. Mr. Gregory said YKK will look to new products for continued growth.

“We are well aware that future success depends upon our ability to develop new products quickly and to continue the aggressive diversification of our business,” he said in an email interview.

The company has decreased production at its Macon factory complex, which was established in 1974 and grew to be the world’s largest zipper factory with 1,200 employees at its height.

In 2005, YKK re-purposed an idled zipper building in Macon to build vinyl windows, the newest business line from YKK AP Americas Inc., a manufacturer of architectural products. YKK AP’s national manufacturing center is located in Dublin, Ga.

Mr. Gregory added that YKK AP, which opened in Georgia in 1991, continues to put out innovative building products that help conserve energy and protect against hurricanes and tornadoes.

A native of Eatonton, Mr. Gregory joined YKK U.S.A. Inc. in 1973 as the weaving department manager in Macon and was promoted to senior vice president in 1982. He was named president and CEO of YKK Corp. of America in 2001.

He has a degree in textile engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a MBA and MSA from Georgia College and State University.

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