Human Resources and Manufacturing

Steelcase CEO James Hackett marks retirement date

July 18, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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Steelcase CEO James Hackett marks retirement date
James Hackett. Courtesy Steelcase

Steelcase CEO James P. Hackett has announced he will be stepping down from that role.

Hackett's last day as CEO will be Feb. 28, 2014 — or the end of the office furniture company’s current fiscal year.

Hackett, who has been CEO for almost 19 years, made his retirement announcement at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

At the start of the next fiscal year, he will take a new position at Steelcase as vice chair for an additional year and will also continue as a member of the board of directors.

"Calm hand"

“Jim Hackett helped change the conversation at Steelcase from merely selling office environments to providing insights about how spaces can impact performance,” said Rob Pew, Steelcase board chair. “He adopted design, and design thinking, as core beliefs and spread them throughout the company. In his 19 years as the CEO, Jim has led the company through some difficult times, as well as periods of growth. We appreciate his calm hand on the tiller.

“With Jim continuing in his role for more than seven months, we are not naming a new CEO at this time, but we have a succession process in place,” added Pew.

Hackett way

Hackett became CEO in December 1994 after holding a variety of sales and leadership positions in the company.

He helped transform the company's business model, expanded its global perspective and presence and championed lifelong learning.

He introduced the company’s current critical thinking model and personally taught the key principles of that model to hundreds of Steelcase leaders.

“I couldn't be happier about what Steelcase has become and where we’re headed,” said Hackett. “But it's time to provide opportunity to others and time for me to pursue some other interests. While continuing to run the company with as much energy and excitement as I did when I took the role in 1994, I’ll also ready myself for the next chapter in my life.”

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