• Thomas Russell

Rob Sligh resigns as president of Sligh Furniture

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Robert L. Sligh Jr., the fourth-generation president of upper end home office and home entertainment resource Sligh Furniture, has resigned his position with the company.

 Robert L. Sligh Jr., Sligh FurnitureRobert L. Sligh Jr.

The news comes nearly eight months after Lexington Home Brands completed its acquisition of the longtime Michigan-based company, which was formed in 1880 by Sligh's great grandfather, Charles Sligh.

As part of that purchase, Sligh moved its operations to Lexington's Thomasville headquarters. Sligh retained his role as president and also assumed the title of senior vice president of business development at Lexington.

Sligh, who joined Sligh Furniture in 1983 and became president in 1990 at age 36, said that he has decided to pursue different opportunities inside or outside the furniture industry. He added that he decided to leave after realizing how much he enjoyed running his own company for so many years.

"A brand president is a great gig, but there may be a different gig out there that as a company president I may be doing," he said.

He added that his decision to leave the company was amicable and also well-timed based on the strong position Sligh now has within the Lexington Home Brands corporate structure.

"This is a great company and I love working with the people here," Sligh said. "It is performing well and is profitable. The great thing about it is that the Sligh brand has found a great home and it gives me a good feeling to think it is in good hands and will continue on."

Sligh said this is his last official week at the company. He plans to return to Holland, Mich., where he still has a home and where his mother still lives. Sligh's father, Robert Lewis Sligh, died in May.

"The first thing I will do is spend time in Holland, Mich., with mom, and then I will look at opportunities not just limited to the industry," he said.

Sligh also has a home in High Point where he lives part of the year.

Sligh, a former president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance, became president of Sligh Furniture just as it was transitioning from student desks and clocks into home office furniture. As the company tied its designs to the latest in consumer electronics, it became known as a leader in that segment. By 2002, the company also entered the home entertainment market and today is considered a go-to resource for upper end goods in both categories.

Sligh also led the company during its final years as a domestic manufacturer to become an importer that sourced goods overseas. By the time of the Lexington sale, Sligh had about a half a dozen employees who worked in areas ranging from marketing to product development.

When the Lexington deal was announced last September, Sligh said that a small, independently owned company faced long odds in the industry.

"The idea was that it is a little tough for a small independent company in the industry nowadays, because to be important to retailers, you need to have a bigger breadth of product," he said. "We found that with Lexington."

Sligh said he discussed the idea of leaving with Lexington Home Brands President and CEO Phil Haney.

"I have a great respect for Phil, and Phil and I talked about it and we decided that things are going well and thought this is a good time for it to happen," Sligh said.

Haney said Sligh was instrumental with the transition and integration of Sligh into the Lexington corporate structure.

"Sligh is a wonderful company, and we couldn't be happier with the transition," Haney said.

"This is a very cordial parting," he added of Sligh's departure. "Rob has run his own company for a long time and like a lot of people who are entrepreneurs and who run their own companies, they have a passion to run their own thing. Rob feels a bit of that and we don't resent that at all. Rob did a wonderful job in helping us integrate Sligh into Lexington, and that is complete at this point."

Haney added, "I like him personally and professionally and I couldn't wish him more success."

While Haney said Sligh has been important to the company, he said Lexington has enough people and resources to handle Sligh's former responsibilities. He indicated it was too soon to say whether the company plans to fill the position.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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