Haworth At Helm No More

July 19, 2005
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HOLLAND — Haworth Inc. today appointed Franco Bianchi as president and chief executive officer, making him the office furniture maker’s fourth leader in two years.

Richard Haworth assumed CEO duties last August following the abrupt departure of Robert Krasa.

Krasa was just the second non-family member to hold the CEO’s position, a role he assumed in 2003 after a little more than a year with the company.

The addition of CEO duties to Haworth’s role as chairman, where he had focused on strategic planning since giving up day-to-day management of the 56-year-old company, put a family member fully back at the helm for the first time in seven years. Haworth previously served as CEO from 1976 to 1997.

Richard Haworth, the son of founder G.W. Haworth, gave up the CEO’s position in 1997 when Gerald Johanneson, a long-time Haworth executive, was named chief executive, becoming the first non-family member to run the company.

Haworth will remain chairman.

Bianchi joined Haworth in 1992 and was appointed chief operating officer of North America in 2004. Before that, he served as Haworth’s global vice president of product line management and marketing, overseeing market research, product design and development, and worldwide marketing, finance and purchasing.

He also served as general manager of Haworth Italy and vice president for finance for Haworth North America.

As COO in North America, Bianchi led the corporation’s largest division and was instrumental in the creation and deployment of Haworth’s strategy of adaptable workspaces, designed performance and global leverage.

“Franco’s accomplishments are supported by his style.  He drives performance and stays focused on a clear vision for Haworth’s future,” said Dick Haworth in a prepared statement. “He is an advocate for sustainability, is a proponent of good design and his cultural perspectives will help him lead our global company.”

Bianchi recently led the development teams that launched several new products — including Enclose movable walls, Compose panel systems and the Zody chair at NeoCon this year.  He also oversaw the design of Haworth’s Chicago showroom, which won numerous awards.

“Haworth is evolving into a new company which creates furniture, utilities and interior architecture that integrate functionally and aesthetically in order to deliver unique values to our customers,” said Bianchi. “Our management team, members and dealers together are focused on consistently driving world-class customer satisfaction and profitability. I am honored to move into this new position on the heels of one of our best NeoCons ever.”    

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