ELKHART - Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO) has selected Andy Graves as chairman of the company's board of directors. Graves, who most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Motorsport Aftermarket Group in Texas, will be the company's first independent chairman.

Graves will begin his new role Thursday after serving nearly nine years on the Thor Board of Directors. He succeeds Thor co-founder Peter Orthwein, who announced last week he was stepping down as executive chairman.

"I'm honored by the opportunity to be Thor's first independent Chairman," Graves said in a news release. "Over the nine years of time on the Board, I have come to know and admire the management team. As I look forward to leading our Board as Chairman, I am confident that our management team has the leadership and vision to successfully navigate the global RV market."

The company says Graves will also resign as chairman of the board's Compensation and Development Committee, effective October 1. Board member Wilson Jones will assume that role.

Thor has also announced Jan Suwinski will step down as lead director, but will remain on the board. Suwinski has been a member of the company's board of directors since 1999.

"Jan has been an important voice in our Board room for many years. He's been instrumental in the setting and monitoring of our strategic path," said Thor CEO Bob Martin. "As we look ahead, our Board will continue to be best in class with Andy Graves in the Chairman role. Andy's deep experience in the recreation industry is invaluable to our boardroom discussion."