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Thomas Russell

La-Z-Boy promotes five key executives

MONROE, Mich. — Upholstery and case goods resource La-Z-Boy has announced several management changes on the wholesale and retail sides of its operation.

Mark Bacon has been promoted from chief retail officer to senior vice president of the La-Z-Boy branded business. This position, previously handled by President and CEO Kurt Darrow, oversees both the wholesale and retail side of branded business, the company's largest business unit. He joined the company in 2008 as chief retail officer.

Chief Marketing Officer Doug Collier has been assigned the additional role of president of La-Z-Boy International, which oversees international sales and business development. He also will oversee information technology.

Collier has been handling international for more than two years, but the company had not yet formally announced his role to customers. He has been with the company since 2002 and became chief marketing officer in 2004.

Both Collier and Bacon report to Darrow.

David Layman, meanwhile, is retiring as senior vice president of residential operations at the end of the current fiscal year, in April 2012, after more than 40 years with the company. Darrell Edwards, vice president and general manager of La-Z-Boy Tennessee, will succeed Layman as vice president of residential manufacturing.

Edwards joined La-Z-Boy in 2004 and became vice president and general manager of the Tennessee division in 2006. In his new role, he will be responsible for the company's six branded manufacturing plants, including its Mexico cut-and-sew facility. He will report to Bacon.

The company also has promoted Dan King from director of retail sales and operations to vice president of La-Z-Boy's retail operations, a role previously held by Bacon. In his new role, King reports to Bacon and will oversee operations of the 83 company-owned stores. King joined the company in 2008.

In addition, the company has promoted Harold McCawley from production manager to general manager of La-Z-Boy Tennessee, a role previously held by Edwards. The Tennessee operation is its largest manufacturing plant. McCawley, who now reports to Edwards, joined La-Z-Boy Tennessee in 1983.

Darrow said that the changes have been planned for some time and represent the company's efforts to create a succession plan. As previously reported in May, Darrow will assume the additional role of chairman later this summer as current Chairman James W. Johnston retires.

"This is a natural process of our organization maturing and spreading out the workload among more people, and allowing senior management to focus on more strategic and long range activities." Darrow said. "The intent is also to make sure I have the time to focus my attentions where they are needed to help improve the company's performance without being burdened by any task of running the day to day business."

Darrow also praised Layman for his contributions to the company. Layman began working for La-Z-Boy in 1971 at the company's Neosho, Mo. plant and was promoted to different positions based on his performance. By 1997, he was named vice president of manufacturing for the residential division and in 1999 was promoted to senior vice president of operations, which oversees the manufacturing side of all La-Z-Boy branded business.

"He has played an integral role in our strategy development process and the implementation of various lean manufacturing initiatives, most notably the company's conversion to cellular production across all of the La-Z-Boy branded facilities," Darrow added. "He has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to La-Z-Boy and we have benefited from his leadership, insight and wisdom."

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