Global upholstery brand La-Z-Boy Incorporated has announced that Kurt L. Darrow will retire from his positions as President and Chief Executive Officer on 25 April 2021, after more than 40 years of service to the company.
His retirement follows the end of La-Z-Boy’s fiscal 2021 year. He will remain Chairman of the Board of Directors, in a non-executive capacity.
Reflecting the company’s long-standing commitment to thoughtful succession planning, Melinda D. Whittington, Chief Financial Officer, was unanimously appointed by the Board to serve as President and CEO of La-Z-Boy Incorporated. Robert G. Lucian, Vice President, Finance, will succeed Whittington in the role of CFO. In addition, Whittington was elected to serve on the Board of Directors, effective April 25, 2021.
Darrow stated: “It has been an extraordinary honor to serve as La-Z-Boy’s President and CEO for the past 17 years, as well as Chairman of the Board since 2011. I have had the opportunity to watch and be part of this company’s evolution from a manufacturer of a single product, the iconic La-Z-Boy recliner, to become the second-largest provider of residential furniture in the U.S., with a growing and vibrant La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries® retail network. As a team, we have delivered long-term profitable growth in a dynamic industry, which has weathered monumental change. I am proud of every employee across our organization, all of whom have and continue to contribute to our success, and it has been a motivating and gratifying privilege to work with them while honoring the legacy of our founders and the values they instilled upon our company and culture.”
Darrow added: “On behalf of our Board of Directors, it is with great pleasure that we appoint Melinda as our next CEO. Her more than 30 years’ experience, including extensive consumer products expertise, proven capability in operational and financial matters, strategic vision and sharp focus, will guide the company forward as the landscape for home furnishings continues to evolve. It is the right time for Melinda to take the helm. Her strategic acumen and demonstrated leadership skills position her to successfully lead La-Z-Boy to and through its next chapter of growth. The company is in excellent shape and, as I step away from the day-to-day operations, I have every confidence Melinda and our top-tier leadership team will leverage the many opportunities that lie ahead for La-Z-Boy.”
W. Alan McCollough, Lead Director of the Board, said: “Kurt has made a significant impact on La-Z-Boy Incorporated. During his tenure as CEO, he strengthened the La-Z-Boy brand, honed the company’s portfolio, championed and evolved the company’s integrated-retail strategy and entered the company into the e-commerce arena. Kurt’s vision for the future helped transform La-Z-Boy’s global supply chain into a value-creating asset and set the company on a course for continued growth and profitability. Kurt led the company through two of the most challenging times in its history, the Great Recession and, more recently, through uncharted territory resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic. La-Z-Boy was fortunate to have a CEO of his caliber. On behalf of the Board and the entire La-Z-Boy organization, I thank him for his many contributions to the company and look forward to his continued leadership of our Board.”