• Thomas Russell

Sam Federico new president of Harden Mfg.

HALEYVILLE, Ala. — Promotional case goods and upholstery manufacturer Harden Mfg. has replaced its president and CEO Harley Ostlund with Sam Federico, a turnaround specialist with more than 40 years of experience as an owner/operator of various companies.

Ostlund left the company last week after having served in his leadership role since early 2009. Company officials did not reveal details surrounding his departure.

Federico said he has been working in a consulting role with Harden for about four weeks.

He said that Ostlund was very good on the manufacturing side of the business, but that the company "made a decision to change direction and change management."

Federico said he is coming to the company at a time when it has continued to struggle.

"We think we will be able to do a better job than we have done in the last few years," he said. "I don't think my predecessor did a terrible job, but there areas here where we need to make improvements."

"Harden has been struggling," he added. "Our goal is to take it where it is today to becoming a longtime supplier of promotional furniture."

Federico's experience running businesses dates back to the 1970s when he owned a chain of Wendy's fast-food restaurants. Later, he was an owner and operator of various businesses with annual revenues ranging from $3.4 million to $125 million, ranging from lift truck companies to wood desk and chair manufacturers.

In 2000, he helped form a consulting firm called Chikol Equities. Since then, he said, that firm has done consulting work with four or five furniture companies ranging from upholstery to case goods resources. He remains a partner of that firm, but other management is running the day-to-day operations.

He also said that he has known various principles with Harden Mfg. owner Linsalata Capital Management for about 30 years and looks forward to his new role in the furniture industry.

He said helping the company move forward will be a matter of returning to fundamentals.

"We need to be very consistent and we need to focus on taking care of our customers," he said. "There is no secret to the business. We just need to be concerned with quality and on-time deliveries and staying ahead of the curve. If we can do those things consistently, we will be successful long-term."

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday
trussell@furnituretoday.com

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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