Steve Smith will become the new president of AccuWeather, Joel Myers, founder and now CEO of the State College-based company has announced.
Smith’s promotion follows the departure in January of former CEO Barry Myers, whom President Donald Trump nominated in October 2017 to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Myers, who sold all his shares in the company, is awaiting full Senate approval for his nomination, while some critics voice concern that his former role at AccuWeather poses a conflict of interest.
“We’re excited about being able to promote Steve ... he’s evolved a lot, made a lot of progress from when we started ... together we’ve brought in a number of additional great people,” said Joel Myers in a phone conversation Friday.
Myers, who formerly served as president of the company, said there has been some restructuring at AccuWeather since his brother’s departure to reflect that the positions of CEO and chairman rank above the president. But he also said he has moved several employees from under his charge to Smith’s “because he’s very competent” and they “see eye to eye on everything.”
Smith said he is looking forward to finding more opportunities for AccuWeather to grow.
“We are a global company,” he said. “We have a large user base all over the world. For me, it’s about continuing to push new innovation in terms of how we reach users, especially in a growing digital world.”
Over the past three to four months, Myers said he started giving Smith more responsibilities, including managing the chief product, chief technology and chief content officers.
With innovation in mind, Smith is overseeing several large launches and improvements in AccuWeather’s apps and website that aim to enhance the user and advertiser experience, according to a press release from the company.
“It will be a continued focus on things we’ve done for 57 years — produc(ing) the best possible forecast and making sure you stay ahead of cutting edge trends and technology out there,” he said.
Smith has and will continue to oversee some of the changes AccuWeather agreed to implement as a result of the conciliation agreement brought forth by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs following a harassment lawsuit by former female AccuWeather employees.
The agreement required that AccuWeather — which is a top-15 employer in Centre County — make changes to the workplace environment, company policies and procedures and training. It also prohibited the company from retaliating against any employee for making a harassment claim.
“The one thing that we have consistently said, we have denied the allegations in that report and we have worked cooperatively with the OFCCP,” Smith said.
Already, the company has implemented mandatory harassment training for all executives, board members and employees, and a number of other programs, like an annual engagement survey, additional paid days off and third party Concern Line to handle anonymous complaints, he said.
Myers said the company has been “fully compliant” with the OFCCP.
“We want to set the standard as the most inclusive, friendly place to work, and we want to be strongly dedicated to that, and we want to continue to follow those policies and that mantra,” he said. “Obviously (Human Resources) is one part of carrying out specifics but we’re all responsible for making AccuWeather the most open, inclusive and non-discriminatory company.”
Smith, who is originally from Philadelphia, earned a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Penn State in 1999, then went to work full time for AccuWeather as a staff meteorologist. In the past 22 years at AccuWeather, Smith has held a variety of positions in research, development and innovations, global weather data acquisition and management and corporate IT. In 2007 he was appointed chief information officer, promoted to chief digital officer in 2013 and in 2015 was named president of Digital Media.
Myers said AccuWeather continues to be an employer that brings money from outside entities into State College to grow the economy.
“We’re all excited about the resiliency about the economy of central Pennsylvania, and that’s always been the case,” he said. “People don’t always appreciate the fact that AccuWeather and Penn State bring in money from outside the community that then recycles.”
Smith said he is a product of AccuWeather’s ability to recruit from outside the community and bring global interests back to central Pennsylvania’s economy. AccuWeather has close ties to Penn State and other tech business innovators in the area, and will continue to collaborate, he said.
“I think that’s been incredibly valuable to a company like us,” he said.