Monroe, MI (June 22, 2018) – The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation announced yesterday, Kurt L. Darrow, Chairman, President and CEO of La‑Z‑Boy Incorporated, will be one of four furniture industry executives inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame on October 14, 2018, during the High Point Market. Darrow has spent close to four decades with La‑Z‑Boy, leading the company as the visionary architect behind multiple transformations and positioning the brand as a marketplace leader.
“An iconic brand and household name, La‑Z‑Boy has evolved with the changing marketplace throughout its 90-plus-year history. While our product offering started with the recliner, it has grown to include a wide range of stylish upholstered furniture as well as furniture for every room in the home, including bedroom, dining room and occasional, in addition to establishing a vibrant retail presence. Throughout our transformation, we have stayed true to our core brand values of comfort and quality while maintaining a focus on the innovative spirit that gave our company its roots,” said Darrow. “I have been privileged to spend my career at La‑Z‑Boy and it is an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with some of the industry’s most reputable and entrepreneurial leaders.”
Darrow is recognized for repositioning and strengthening La‑Z‑Boy as one of the world’s most well-known consumer furniture brands. Today, the publicly traded company (NYSE:LZB) is the leading global producer of reclining chairs and the second largest manufacturer and distributor of residential furniture in the United States. During his tenure, the La‑Z‑Boy Furniture Galleries® store system evolved to become the 13th largest furniture store retailer in the U.S., with La‑Z‑Boy branded products sold in 60 countries. The La‑Z‑Boy family of brands also includes England, American Drew, Hammary, and Kincaid.
Darrow is best known as the architect of a major transformation of La‑Z‑Boy Incorporated that began with his appointment as CEO in 2003 and later as Chairman in 2011. Within a dynamic industry that was undergoing a sea change across the manufacturing and retail landscapes, he rationalized the company’s portfolio of operating entities and developed the company’s integrated retail model, where the company would own a significant portion of the La‑Z‑Boy Furniture Galleries® store system, a key strategy for delivering ongoing growth and returns. He also led a team to transform the company’s domestic manufacturing platform into an asset at a time when many U.S. producers were moving offshore, championing the brand’s Made in America status. By transforming the company’s global supply chain, which includes procurement and production, La‑Z‑Boy was set on a course for consistent growth and profitability while carving out a distinct position in the marketplace, offering the customer mass customization on stylish, quality furniture, with a speed-to-market advantage. For these and many other strategies executed successfully while leading the company, he has been heralded by Wall Street as a turnaround specialist.
Within the furniture industry, Mr. Darrow serves as an Executive Board Member of the Anti-Defamation League’s Furniture Division. Other prominent roles have included serving as Chairman of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) in 2008, and as Board President of the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., from 2011 – 2012. Additionally, Mr. Darrow has received a number of prestigious awards, including being honored in 2003 with the Anti-Defamation League’s American Heritage Award, the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the American Home Furnishings Alliance and, in 2015, he was the recipient of the City of Hope Spirit of Life Award.
The Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by a seven-member selection committee, composed of three Hall of Fame Foundation board members and four representatives from diverse segments of the industry. Each inductee is evaluated based on their enduring excellence, superior accomplishments, innovation and creativity, and philanthropic generosity, as well as their contribution to the growth and development to the home furnishing industry in the U.S. as a whole. Darrow is joined by Allen E. Grant, Jr., chairman and former CEO of Glen Raven, Inc., Keith Koeing, president of City Furniture, and Paul B. Toms, Jr., chairman and CEO of Hooker Furniture Corp in this year’s Hall of Fame Induction.
“We’re thrilled to honor these visionary leaders whose innovative ideas, entrepreneurial attitudes and hard work have significantly impacted the home furnishings industry,” says Jeff Child, president of the Hall of Fame Foundation board of directors. “In a year in which we are launching our Leadership Initiative to ensure we are creating future leaders, it’s fitting that we induct such outstanding role models, whose contributions to their companies, their industry and their communities are exceptional.”
Headquartered in Monroe, Mich., La‑Z‑Boy has been producing some of the world’s most comfortable furniture for over 90 years. The company manufactures a full line of comfortable products for the living room and family room, including the company’s world-famous recliners, reclining sofas and love seats, sleep sofas, modular furniture and leather upholstery, as well as stationary sofas, love seats and chairs. It is a division of La‑Z‑Boy Incorporated (NYSE: LZB), one of the world’s leading residential furniture producers, marketing furniture for every room of the home. "Live Life Comfortably.®"
Founded in 1989, the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., is an international, industry-wide organization founded to preserve the home furnishings history and to celebrate exceptional individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the U.S. home furnishings industry. Membership includes eligibility to nominate candidates for consideration by the Selection Committee, and the opportunity to help preserve the history and heritage of the industry. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, 83 percent of all funds support our history and leadership programming. The organization is based in High Point, North Carolina, at 202 Neal Place, Suite 101, and can be reached at 336.882.5900.