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Michael Knell

Cary Benson, James DeFehr named co-presidents of Palliser Furniture

Art DeFehr remains CEO of upholstery manufacturer
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Upholstery specialist Palliser Furniture hired industry veteran Cary Benson as president of sales and marketing and promoted James DeFehr to president of operations and finance, both newly created positions.

John Phillips, who had been executive vice president of sales and marketing since 2006, has left the company.

Benson was president of Natuzzi Americas before stepping down late last year. Earlier, he had held a similar position with the Dallas-based upholstery specialist American Leather. In a statement, Palliser said Benson will be responsible for all product and marketing as well as product management and merchandising.

Art DeFehr, who remains CEO of Palliser, said Benson "brings great industry experience and knowledge and will develop our opportunities in all markets but especially the important U.S. market."

Before his promotion, James DeFehr, a nephew of Art DeFehr, had been senior vice president of operations since 2008. Prior to that, he directed Palliser's manufacturing operations in Mexico.

"We are delighted that we can combine such great external and internal talent together with the outstanding team that is already in place to take full advantage of an improving marketplace," Art DeFehr said.

Benson and James DeFehr will report to Art DeFehr, who also retains the leadership of Palliser's parent holding company.

Art DeFehr noted that Palliser has a production platform that utilizes Mexico to provide quick delivery of custom products at a competitive cost. "We pioneered in Mexico 12 years ago and now it is really paying off," he said.

Palliser also operates a large final assembly facility in Winnipeg that provides a higher level of service to retailers in Canada and selected northern markets in the United States.

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