Alticor Tabs Doug DeVos
Such reaction provides a measure of the relief expressed by area business leaders after Friday's announcement that the youngest of the DeVos siblings had been "immediately promoted" to president. Doug DeVos will take company leadership in September in tandem with Alticor Chairman Steve Van Andel.
The rapid changes in the company formerly known only as "Amway" created a vast amount of speculation, especially in the Michigan business community, that Alticor may be poised to go public or that family members would sell portions of or all of the business. The announcement appears to be a demonstration of the board's desire to keep the company family owned.
Steve Van Andel specifically noted Friday, "This promotion underscores our families' continued commitment to Amway and Quixtar and our devotion to the millions of business owners who have made this enterprise a success since it was first established in 1959."
The youngest child of Amway (now Alticor) founder Richard (and Helen) DeVos has vast experience within the business and is largely credited by his eldest brother Dick for the success of the company's new millennium business technology entry with Quixtar. Doug DeVos also has been responsible for the core business, Amway, since the company's reorganization three years ago.
Michigan Economic Development Corp. board member and The Right Place Program President Birgit Klohs noted that Doug DeVos provides a wealth of experience and a "good relationship" with the independent business owners, upon which Amway success blossomed through the '70s and '80s.
"Continuity is a huge issue. To have a family member assigned to the position is truly important for this firm and for this area," Klohs said, while noting another international purchase last week of a locally owned firm. "Doug has been with the business for so long, and he brings a lot of experience with the distributors. It's a good, good choice," she said of the 37-year-old.
The Alticor Board of Directors, which for the first time included outside business chiefs appointed in 2001, also gave the youngest DeVos title as president of Amway and Quixtar, "recognizing his continuing role in managing the two businesses. He was named chief operating officer of both Alticor businesses in October of 2000.
"It's humbling to be asked to step into a job that has been done so well for the past 43 years, first by my dad and then by my brother. But we all share a deep belief in this business and a determination to keep it growing all over the world. I look forward to working even more closely with Steve, our independent business owners around the world, the board, our management team and employees to help us realize our full potential," DeVos said.
Jim McClung, one of the Alticor directors, said, "Doug impressed the board with his leadership and managerial skills. His knowledge and passion for the business made him a natural choice. But his track record of success — not his last name — sealed the deal."
DeVos joined the family business in 1980, working part-time in the company surplus store. His full-time employment with Amway began in 1987, overseeing Amway's record growth in Asia and the development of Quixtar in the U.S. and Canada. He traveled in more than 80 countries and territories and more recently has taken the podium for speeches and rallies for business owners, members and customers world-wide. Van Andel noted, "Doug has a natural ability to connect with people from all backgrounds and cultures. He is an effective and motivating leader because he understands that our business empowers people to achieve their goals and realize their dreams."
DeVos underscored the work of the IBOs and said, "I am here to let our business owners know that we are with them every step of the way, offering the products and business support they need to get started and grow."
DeVos also had responsibility for the company's global management of sales and marketing. Under his leadership, the Asian region posted increasingly higher growth rates and record sales. Such success is credited for the company's growth to a $4.1 billion company with more than 11,000 employees and operations in 55 countries.
Dick DeVos, proud of his bother's accomplishments, said Doug is a "great choice" and "he and Steve have my total confidence and support going forward."
Doug DeVos serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, the Holland Home, the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation and several other community groups.