Architecture & Design, Human Resources, and Manufacturing

Furniture maker CEO retiring

February 6, 2018
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Brian Walker
Brian Walker. Courtesy Herman Miller

The long-time CEO of a furniture maker in the region has announced he will retire this year.

Brian Walker, president, CEO and board member at Zeeland-based Herman Miller (Nasdaq: MLHR), said yesterday he plans to step down from all three roles, effective Aug. 31.

“After a terrific 29-year career at Herman Miller, including 14 years as president and CEO, now is the right time to transition the company to its next generation of leadership,” Walker said.

“We have significantly expanded our potential for long-term growth by developing a strong global footprint and moving beyond the office to help people create inspiring places to heal, learn and live.”

Herman Miller’s Board of Directors has formed a search committee composed of independent directors and will retain an executive search firm to help find and evaluate candidates for the CEO role.

Walker will assist the board in the search process and plans to continue in his current roles until a successor is named.

Michael Volkema, executive chair for Herman Miller, thanked Walker on behalf of the board.

“His deep commitment and remarkable leadership have enabled Herman Miller to become the global industry leader it is today,” Volkema said. “During Brian’s tenure, Herman Miller has become a lean enterprise that keeps its promises and strives to improve each and every day.”

“We wish Brian all the best in his retirement and look forward to his continued involvement with the company during this leadership transition period.”

Walker said Herman Miller’s “deep bench of leaders” will ensure the transition goes smoothly.

Following the announcement of Walker’s retirement after market close yesterday, Herman Miller’s stock price is down 1.72 percent to $37.05 as of 9:52 a.m. morning. 

The company’s net sales in the second quarter of fiscal year 2018 totaled $604.6 million, up from $577.5 million in the same quarter the prior year, an increase of 4.7 percent.

The date of the company’s third-quarter 2018 earnings call with investors has not yet been announced.

Herman Miller

Founded in 1905, Herman Miller is a global manufacturer of furnishings and offers related technologies and services.

In fiscal 2017, the company generated $2.28 billion in revenue and employed about 8,000 people worldwide.

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