Longtime bedding industry exec joins metal bed manufacturer
This article is originally published on Furniture Today by Thomas Russell|
LOS ANGELES, July 29, 2015 - Metal bed manufacturer Wesley Allen has named bedding industry executive Chris Henning as corporate president, a new position in which he will assume a number of responsibilities formerly overseen by long-time president and sales executive Terry Steed, who is retiring from management.
Henning comes to the company from bedding producer King Koil, where he most recently was executive vice president of sales and marketing. Before that, he was president and CEO of Dormeo Octaspring and earlier was senior vice president in charge of strategic planning for Comfort Solutions.
He also has served as the North America president of Kingsdown and was president of Tempur-Pedic Retail.
In addition, he has held executive positions at Tempur-Pedic International and International Bedding Corp.
In his new position, he reports to founder Victor Sawan, who remains CEO and who will continue to stay involved in merchandising, major projects and overseeing company strategy. Henning will oversee the day-to-day functions of the business, which will include areas such as sales, marketing, operations and logistics.
“Chris has a great personality. The type of personality and work ethic he has fits and dovetails perfectly with the mentality we have at Wesley Allen,” Sawan said. “And with his background in major, major accounts and running much more prominent corporations in the recent past, he has very strong leadership qualities. I love his enthusiasm for what we are doing, and with his experience in managerial activities, I think it is a perfect match.”
Since Sawan formed the company nearly 40 years ago, Wesley Allen has been a recognized style leader and manufacturer of metal beds. Henning comes to the company during a period of transition in which it is expanding its line to also include style-driven barstools and dinettes.
The company also is in the process of revamping its website, and is returning to the Las Vegas Market next week for the first time since 2011, where it is showing in space B-360.
“As we grow and develop into other arenas, he has the managerial experience to hold the company together and not have us too fragmented or fall apart,” Sawan said. “He has a tremendous energy and disposition and he knows everybody in the furniture business.”
Henning said he looks forward to helping Sawan grow the company.
“It has a great name and a high quality product. And with updated styles and looks, there is a tremendous opportunity for his business to grow to the next level,” Henning said. “It’s exciting. I feel privileged to have this opportunity because it is such a great company and Victor is such a great person.”
Steed joined the company about 25 years ago, according to Sawan. He started as a sales rep in Alabama then was promoted to regional sales manager. After that he was named national sales manager. He has been president for the past six years, Sawan said.
Sawan said Steed will remain with the company as a sales rep covering his home state of Alabama.
“Terry, besides being a gentleman, is somebody who has traveled with me through this journey in business and in life as well,” Sawan said. “From a personal standpoint, he is someone I admire, respect and adore as a friend. And from a business sense, you could not find a better person to work with and who is a team player.”
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