HM Improves Leadership Changes

June 24, 2004
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HOLLAND — Amid an improving business outlook, Mike Volkema will step aside next month as chief executive officer at Herman Miller Inc., leaving behind the day-to-day duties of running the company to focus more time on serving as chairman and in product research and innovation.

Brian Walker, Herman Miller’s corporate president and chief operating officer since January 2003, will succeed Volkema as CEO on July 26. Walker has held a series of top executive positions with Herman Miller, including president of North American operations and before that as CFO, since he joined the company in 1989.

I have always believed there is no lasting success without a successor, and it was a privilege for me to recommend to the board of directors that Brian Walker succeed me as chief executive officer. We’ve worked together for over nine years and in that time I have seen Brian demonstrate his gift for leadership, first as chief financial officer, then president of North America, and most recently as president and chief operating officer,” said Volkema, who has served as CEO since 1995 and held the dual role as chairman since late 2000.

“Brian’s leadership has been instrumental in guiding the company through the difficulties of the past few years, and he is ready to lead Herman Miller into a new era of growth and profitability,” Volkema said.

Herman Miller announced the leadership change Wednesday evening as the company released solid sales and earnings results for the most recent quarter and fiscal year.

Revenues for the fourth quarter that ended May 29 grew 9.9 percent to $353.8 million. That compares with $321.9 million for the same period a year earlier and, combined with a positive sales report a day earlier at Steelcase Inc., provides further data showing the office furniture industry is now into a sustained recovery.

The weekly order rate for the quarter is the best the company has experienced in 11 quarters, Chief Financial Officer Beth Nickels said.

The signals are clear that our industry is back on the growth path,” she said.

Herman Miller reported net income of $19.3 million, or 27 cents per share. That compares to a net loss of $1.3 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

For the 2004 fiscal year, sales totaled $1.33 billion, or equal to the revenues recorded in the prior fiscal year.

Looking ahead, Herman Miller expects revenues for the current first quarter of FY 2005 to grow 9 percent to 16 percent from the $324.5 million of last year, to $355 million to $375 million, and earnings of 16 cents to 21 cents per share.  

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