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Gary Fazio named CEO of bedding major Simmons

Former top exec Steve Fendrich leaving company

Michele SanFilippo, Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, July 7, 2010

 Gary FazioGary Fazio

ATLANTA — Bedding major Simmons Co., which was acquired by the parent company of rival Serta International in January, has named mattress industry veteran Gary Fazio as its CEO.

Fazio, a key executive at Top 100 retailer Mattress Firm since 2001, is replacing Steve Fendrich, who has been Simmons president and chief operating officer since 2008.

Fazio begins his new job Thursday and will be based at Simmons corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

 

"I am thrilled to be joining Simmons at a time when the company is enhancing its strong brand and product portfolio as well as continuing to build on its long history of developing high quality and innovative products," said Fazio. "Our opportunities are broad, and I look forward to joining the leadership team of such a distinguished company."

Fazio is taking the helm in the wake of a financial restructuring that saw Simmons emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year after it was acquired by Ares Management and the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund, the owners of Serta.

Simmons, which had U.S. sales of $858 million in 2009, lost the No. 2 spot in the industry last year to Serta, which recorded U.S. sales of $915 million. Both trail industry sales leader Sealy, which had U.S. sales of $1.11 billion last year.

During his tenure at Mattress Firm, Fazio guided the company from being a regional player to the second-largest bedding specialty chain. In 2009, the retailer was No. 15 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 list with sales of $501 million. The company now has about 560 stores in 22 states.

He was Mattress Firm's CEO until February, when he was elevated to chairman.

Before joining Mattress Firm, he worked for Sealy for 20 years in a variety of sales, marketing and management posts. He was vice president and general manager at the time of his departure.

Fendrich had been with Simmons since 2005, and was promoted to president and chief operating officer in early 2008. A statement from Simmons praised Fendrich for "guiding the company successfully through its restructuring" and said he is leaving the company.

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