Human Resources and Manufacturing

Furniture maker appoints next CEO

August 16, 2018
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HM Andi Owen
Andi Owen. Courtesy Herman Miller

A furniture maker in the region has selected a longtime retail clothing chain executive as its next CEO.

Zeeland-based Herman Miller’s board of directors said yesterday it elected Andi Owen — a former global president of Banana Republic stores at Gap Inc. — to succeed Brian Walker as the company’s next president and CEO, effective Aug. 22.

Owen also will serve on the board of directors beginning on Aug. 22.

Walker announced his retirement in February.

Michael Volkema, Herman Miller board chair, said the company is “deeply grateful” for Walker’s leadership and service during his nearly 30-year career at Herman Miller.

“The company remains focused on the strategy Brian put in place, which has collectively grown the business, expanded our multi-channel capabilities and accelerated the company’s positive momentum,” he said.

“Under Andi’s leadership, the business will seize opportunities that will lead to growth in new markets for both contract and consumer customers. Andi has the right gifts, talents and expertise to accomplish this mission. She understands how to realize the potential of a brand amidst changing customer preferences and habits. We are thrilled to welcome her onboard.”

Walker said Owen is “a seasoned leader” who will work with the leadership team to “take our family of brands to the next level.”

He said he will work with Owen to ensure a successful transition.

Owen said she is proud to be joining a company with “a reputation for being the best in the business.”

“It is a privilege to lead the company and continue the evolution of its world-class portfolio of brands,” she said.

Owen’s background

The new CEO joins Herman Miller after a 25-year career at Gap, where, in her role as global president of Banana Republic, she led 11,000 employees in more than 600 stores across 27 countries.

Her skillset includes “digital and omni-channel transformation” and “design, product development and supply chain management.”

At Gap, she developed new “digital first” growth strategies, introducing “innovative marketing” and new customer acquisition strategies and driving global expansion in key markets.

From 2014 to 2017, she served as global president of Banana Republic, a $2.8-billion brand. She led all facets of the division.

Previously, she also launched the Gap Factory Store division in China and Europe and led it to profitability within its first year.

She also launched Gap Factory’s online division, doubling sales and margin expectations in the first six months.

Owen serves on the boards of Taylor Morrison Home Corporation, Goal Five and First Place for Youth, a nonprofit supporting foster children.

She earned a B.A. from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Herman Miller

Founded in 1905, Herman Miller (Nasdaq: MLHR) is a global manufacturer of furnishings and offers related technologies and services.

In fiscal 2018, the company generated $2.38 billion in revenue and employed nearly 8,000 people worldwide.

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